Monday, December 24, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 1 ...

      And so we come to the end of another year of the K.A.C. Seeing as it is Christmas Eve, I'd like to alert you to an Icelandic custom that is rather near and dear to my heart, the Christmas Book Flood (picture at left). What a great tradition! And rather interesting, given a recent article from Smithsonian.com - 'A Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories' - you can see the article below:

     https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/plea-resurrect-christmas-tradition-telling-ghost-stories-180967553/?fbclid=IwAR2GccrOumKuN8Zl2ygujc6qzq7i2Xa3ubggQ0-L52L3f9J1BDjLoGWuxGs#1DG8uLtybDC6PSgc.01

     
       We're pleased to say that we've kept that tradition alive and well here, with our last entry usually dedicated to just such a tale. This year's story was picked out by my son Justin, a nicely eerie M.R. James entry called 'The Ash Tree'. Here's the best part: it was adapted by the BBC as part of their Ghost Stories For Christmas series, with Sir Christopher Lee playing the author and narrating the stories to select students of his, just as the real professor did years ago. It was also filmed at Kings College, Cambridge, where M.R. James taught. And a final bit of trivia, courtesy of IMDB.COM: "As described in his autobiography, while passing oral tests for scholarship at Eton in the 1930s, young Sir Christopher Lee met M.R. James, the then Provost of the school, in person."

      So turn down your lights and turn up the sound and enjoy this hair-raising tale of terror!

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc095E5DwEE 

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     With that, it is time for the K.A.C. to retire. May you have the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases and a bountiful New Year. Thank you for reading and following our daily jaunts this month - we'll see you again next year.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 2 ...

     Our next to last day begins with this great Doc Savage Fantasy Cover by Keith "Kez" Wilson - he knocks it out of the park again with 'The Terrible Tree' ... and who's that in the background (click on the picture for a close-up look)?! Today we have an Aural Odyssey for you, an assortment of audio you won't hear anywhere else - such as:




        
You're only 48 hours away from deadline: the presents, the visiting relatives, the crammed house full of family and friends ... you're going to need something to listen to while you clean and wrap presents and all the hundred and one other things you need to do before people arrive. How about an aural time travel back to 1974 and K-mart holiday music? Even typing that sounds weird, but the link below is quite perky - just the thing to have on in the background while getting chores done - give it a listen!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9hR4Gg6b9w


       Before you go, there's one other song you should make sure you listen to today. On Christmas Eve, it is celebrating its 200th birthday. Read which song it is and the story behind it here:

      

 http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20181219-silent-night-austrias-melodic-message-of-peace


     Once the music has gotten you in the proper Christmas spirit and the chores are done for the day, why not settle in with a hot beverage and a comfy chair and listen to a new take on a Christmas Classic - like what? How about Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol read by Neil Gaiman? I thought that make you perk up and take notice! Find it here!

     https://nerdist.com/neil-gaiman-gives-us-a-christmas-carol-for-christmas/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=Nerdi utm_content=Neil+Gaiman+Reads+A+CHRISTMAS+CAROL+for+Christmas&fbclid=IwAR3bGmgbnp4Z_dFIa44uKf7Vb08szNpI7_t4CseXBgqAf976rAZ76gw6HeU

     
       Somehow, given what the K.A.C. has come to stand for over the years, that Gaiman reading is far too high(brow) a note to end today's entry on ... not to worry, I have JUST the thing! From the recent film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse comes A Very Spidey Christmas, an album that is a blatant cash grab - and knows it! Click on the link below and even if you can't bring yourself to listen to the entire album, just give a listen to the first link, 'Spidey Bells', sung in best William Shatner fashion by Chris Pine! It starts all jolly and festive, then goes into FULL-ON existentialist crisis mode! One of the funnier meta holiday songs I've heard this year:

     https://io9.gizmodo.com/joy-to-the-world-into-the-spider-verses-christmas-albu-1831241520

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     Coming Tomorrow: Our Final Entry of 2018 and a fittingly chilling way to wrap up the K.A.C. - we hope you'll join us!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 3 ...

     Well, hopefully not! Let's see the contents for today ... hmm, yep, yep, check - no, I take it back, the card is pretty spot on! :)

     That being said, let's dive right in!  First up we have multiple last-minute reports on this year's most eccentric trees, including this Christmas (K)night tree - nice! To see more, click below:

     
     https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8022811/people-share-very-creative-christmas-trees-stuck-ceiling/

     https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2018/dec/07/fir-crying-out-loud-2018-most-underwhelming-christmas-trees 

     https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gallery/2018/dec/21/wastes-of-spruce-more-of-your-underwhelming-christmas-trees

      

      Next up, another Christmas, another demon-possessed last-minute doll for Christmas! Now some of us might take the high road and say 'computer chip malfunction', but that's not going to bring The Sun running! Look at the footage of the 'must-have' Luvabelle doll and decide for yourself!

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8018680/mum-horrified-as-christmas-must-have-luvabella-doll-turns-into-a-demon-after-malfunctioning/

    
     A few days ago (on T - 13, to be exact) we regaled you with the story of the Yule Lads, the 13 mischevious elves of Iceland who come and check in on if the children have been good or bad during the year. BBC Travel had a recent article that explains why this is taken so seriously by the kids and just how ingrained and invested the population is in believing the elves (or 'Little People' as they are known) are real - try 62% of folks DON'T think they are a fairy tale! For an interesting read (and great photos), go here:

     http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20181217-the-elusive-hidden-people-of-iceland?fbclid=IwAR0bWolW22QfcyKpHI8XWo1IP2WWB0ZAN031xG3fIH0IlxP8JnXz_i1Fb3Q

     
      Let's wrap this day up with something I think you ALL will enjoy - the Predator vs. Santa Holiday Special!   =:O !!! Think elves are all warm and fuzzy? Watch as Sprinkles gets revenge when the Predator comes to the North Pole, in the best stop-motion short this side of Robot Chicken - Happy Holidays indeed!

     https://geekologie.com/2018/12/20th-century-fox-creates-stop-motion-pre.php

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     Coming Tomorrow: Our next to last entry for 2018 - come on back!          

Friday, December 21, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 4 ...

     You had ONE JOB - just put five columns in a row for the Christmas display while waiting to talk to ... ummm ... check out the newest and WORST Christmas Fails of the year here!

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8017439/worst-christmas-fails-decorations-rude/ 

     


     To spare you from MORE fails, we've got Exact Instructions on the Do's and Don't of How To Have A Successful Christmas Dinner - you want FESTIVE, we GOT FESTIVE! Just look at that photo on the right ... that little girl's look on her face is a slow burn reminiscent of the final shot in Polanski's REPULSION ... tick, tick ... 'festive' ... check it out here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/food/2018/dec/18/new-rules-christmas-dinner-dont-ask-yorkshire-puddings-always-wear-party-hat


      
     
     And speaking of Christmas dinner, we've got it all prepackaged and prepared for you ... by robots! That glassy-eyed killer stare from the girl above should have warned you this was coming! In this BBC Future article, an AI was tasked with coming up with the ingredients for a full-course Christmas dinner and the results were cooked up - read here for the taste test!

      http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181219-what-to-do-with-your-leftover-christmas-food

     
      You're going to need some appropriate music to listen to while choking down your functionally nutritious dinner - that's where the AI Christmas Carols come in! Our Robot Overlords have been working hard to come up with newer, creepier algorithms for you to learn, including 'Syllabub Chocolatebells' and 'Peaches Twinkleleaves' - get your singing voice ready and join in!

     https://geekologie.com/2018/12/christmas-tunes-generated-by-artificial.php 

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      Coming Tomorrow: Our final three entries - can you feel the panic setting in? 'Cause these folks you'll read about sure can!
     

     

Thursday, December 20, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 5 ...

     Welcome back to our Final Five! Today we present not Five Golden Rings, but something much more interesting: Five Christmas Ladies Who Can Supplant Santa This Holiday Season, including Gryla, La Befana (pictured at left) and more (thanks to Robin for the link!):

     https://bust.com/general/193959-forget-santa-and-celebrate-these-five-legendary-ladies-instead.html?fbclid=IwAR3MGo_avnoPRYWalP588SMBYjLRdcPCTIo758C2QD5dxYs9-15dJdURpc4 

     We've written about some of these delicate flowers before, such as our entry on Frau Perchta back in 2014:

     http://www.conjurecinema.com/2014/12/kac-2014-t-22.html 

     For a more detailed look at her less than savory side, go here:

     http://boredomtherapy.com/frau-perchta/

     
      As a public service, we should mention that due to global warming, children should no longer be addressing letters to Santa at the North Pole ... for a guaranteed answer, they should be sending them to Himmpfort, Germany instead! It's a bit hard for me to explain, so why not go here and read all about it:

     https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/11288782/The-tiny-German-village-post-office-answering-letters-to-Santa.html

     
      I've always had a hunch this whole 'eight reindeer and one sleigh around the entire world in one night' was a bit of a scam ... this animated short from the BBC explains the TRUTH! :)

     https://io9.gizmodo.com/doctor-who-saves-christmas-again-in-this-adorable-hol-1831172114

    
Photo courtesy of Creepy Classics
     Finally, if it's still TOO SOON for some of you to give up on your OTHER favorite holiday, and by that I mean Halloween, take a cue from Brenda Troup of Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, and make some GingerFrank cookies! The best of both worlds! :)


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     Coming Tomorrow: Only 4 more to go!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 6 ...

     Pssst ... Santa! It's only six more days 'till Christmas! Shouldn't you be - you know - supervising the elves or something? What's that? Automation? Uh, oh ...

     Santa actually works his butt off all December at the malls, plus his one night around the world gig on Christmas eve, so hey, he's entitled to take the rest of the year off, right? Want to know just HOW MUCH he makes in one month? Read here: 

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/worldnews/7913452/professional-santa-claus-why-wear-bright-gloves/ 

     
      Have your holiday cards gone out yet? No? You're pushing it, buddy - time's a'wastin' ... if you need inspiration for a nice family holiday photo card, maybe THESE will help!

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7885245/awkward-christmas-family-photos/

     
      If you're a parent (or know someone who is), what is the one TRUE bane of Christmas Eve? Trying to get your hyped-up kids to bed, right? They're bursting with anticipation and you just want some peace and quiet so you can put the presents under the tree and get to bed yourself. Well, speaking of automation, there's a bedtime story app that swears it can get your kid to bed in 20 minutes on Christmas Eve - heck, most parents would like that year round! Called Moshi Twilight, it combines a story with soothing sounds - check it out:

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8010148/bedtime-story-app-moshi-kids-sleep-christmas-eve-20-minutes/

     
      Our final surprising link regards a secret villain. If your Christmas tree is already wilting, even though you've watered it faithfully and given it plenty of sunshine, it may be because of a surprise culprit - and we thought these things were supposed to be healthy!

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/8009760/fruit-bowl-near-christmas-tree-causes-needles-drop-faster/

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   Thanks to The Sun (UK) for all of today's links - I can always count on them for the K.A.C. news that matters!

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     Coming Tomorrow: We begin the Final Five!

     

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

K.A.C. 2018 - T - 7 ...


       Oh-lee-o-lay-dee, o-lay-dee-I-ay,
Donner and Blitzen, away, away,
Oh-lee-o-lay-dee, o-lay-dee-I-oh,
I'm Hardrock!
I'm Coco!
I'm Joe!
Long-time followers of the K.A.C. know these lyrics by heart and also know what they mean ... one week until Christmas! I've written extensively on The Three Little Dwarfs, but if you're new to the game, check out their backstory from my earlier blog post here:

     http://www.conjurecinema.com/2010/12/kac-t-7-days.html

     
       All aboard! We've got even MORE Creepy Victorian Christmas Cards today, with our buddy Krampus and some of the weirdest Santas you've ever seen, including Ghost Santa, Hunchback Santa and more!

     https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/8006807/santa-father-christmas-saint-nicholas-devil-victorian-hunchback/

    
     

     
           Finally, to wrap up your day  34 Alternative Christmas Songs (in case you need to get the earwig of The Three Little Dwarfs out of your head) including Jingle Cats!

     https://www.wcvb.com/article/best-weirdest-christmas-songs/25411467 

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     Coming Soon: The final six days will go by in a blur - join us for last-minute frantic holiday stories, our annual Christmas ghost story and more!