Monday, December 24, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 1 ...

     Once again we come to our final installment of the K.A.C. - but before we wave goodbye, let's see what surprises are left in the bottom of the sack ...

           Oh, Krampus, you silly goose! Here I give you the year off and STILL you insist on stopping by! Yes, we still love you ... yes, you have our hearts (ummm, maybe not the best of phrases here ...) - you know what, Big K? You seem a little busy there, so we'll let you get back to ... whatever it is you're doing ... there ... (EEK!) Instead, may I present Anthony Bourdain's "A Krampus Carol"! 

     Moving on ... last Christmas Eve, the folks in Beijing, China, reported the arrival of a real-life superhero.  She goes by the moniker 'Chinese Redbud Woman' and her super powers include giving food and other materials to the homeless and poor. Who is she? Where does she come from? Who knows ... does it matter? It's her message that's important, that of helping those less fortunate at this time of the year. Read all about her below: 

     Our final gift to you for the 2012 season (as it is every year at the K.A.C.) is our annual Christmas scary tale (see my blog entries for December 24th, 2010 and December 23rd, 2011). It's traditional to have a Christmas ghost story every year, but just this once, we're going to break with tradition due to the extreme rarity of our find. From November 1st, 1945, as heard on the radio show SUSPENSE, we present H.P. Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror"! It's in three parts, with Ronald Coleman as Henry Armitage. I'm particularly taken with the accompanying photos, maps, etc., that Lemming013 put together to accompany this tale. So turn down the lights and listen to this touching tale of Lavinia Whateley's precocious son Wilbur ... and someone (or something) else. (Sadly, the comic at right is just a mock-up *sigh*) - My thanks to my co-worker Mary for finding this radio rarity!


     And with that, it's time for me to shuffle off for another year. Thank you all for joining me on our crazy Christmas trip through the frivolous and the fabulous  -  hope you'll (or is that Yule?) join me again next year! Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 2 ...

           Well, this is ONE way of guaranteeing you're going to get Santa's attention! Coming to the rescue at the very end of the K.A.C. is a whole Santa sackful of Christmas Desktop Goodies from Diana's "She Walks Softly" blog ... there's just so much here to enjoy, I don't know where to start. Dive in!


      I think the only way I can follow up all that weirdness is with a Chemical Christmas! First, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute got the holiday bug (hmm, maybe not the best description there ...) and created some holiday Petri dish surprises out of fungi ... including two different Christmas trees and a snowman (hopefully NOT nicknamed 'Captain Tripps') - click on the link to see them all! 

     Sticking with the scientific theme for a moment, next we have the Chemistree (see what they did there? Those wacky scientists!) -  extra points for best guesses as to what chemicals are represented here!

     Leaving the science behind, we next turn our attention to an article called 'The Top 20 Christmas Magazine Covers of All Time' ... how this December, 1974 issue of The National Lampoon missed the cut is beyond me - I still remember it nearly 40 years later! While I don't agree with all their choices, there still are some good ones here - take a look!


     Come back tomorrow for our final entry of 2012! See you then!



Saturday, December 22, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 3 ...

     Here's an interesting story that was just reported by the BBC. Take a look at the photo on the left. Before you think this is some odd missing portrait on the wall of the Overlook Hotel at the end of THE SHINING, calm down ... it is actually a photo of the Wall family. What is so important about them? Individually and/or collectively, nothing much. Historically, however, ah ... that's a different story! 

     As the BBC reports, "Curators at the Museum of London have discovered what they believe to be the first ever recordings of a family Christmas. They were made 110 years ago by the Wall family who lived in New Southgate in North London. There are 24 clear recordings on wax cylinders which were made using a phonograph machine between 1902 and 1917."

     Read the whole report (and hear some of these amazingly preserved recordings) here! 

     Staying with our theme of Christmases Gone By, here is a delightful illustration from an 1875 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The picture at right accompanied a short story called "A Christmas After-Dinner Dream" and you can read the entire tale (as well as take a look at a century of classic Christmas art from the magazine) at the link below: 

Next, if the hustle and bustle of the season is getting too much for you and you want to escape the world for awhile, I have the PERFECT Christmas gift for you! It's called The Isolator and was invented by "the father of science fiction", Hugo Gernsback (pictured at left). Back in 1926, he published the long-running "scienti-fiction" magazine Amazing Stories ... but Hugo was much more than just a publisher. He was an inventor (The Isolator notwithstanding) with one of the world's first television receivers to his credit, as well as a writer and editor. Read all about him (and maybe even ordering instructions for your OWN Isolator!) here:

     What better way to end today's entry than The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike, with illustrations by Edward Gorey? Click on the link below and enjoy! 

     Only two more to go!




Friday, December 21, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 4 ...

     So how did you do on the Kringle's Khristmas Kuties All-Male Edition? The answers are:

# 1 - Freddie Mercury (lead singer for Queen)

# 2 - Jimi Hendrix (!)

# 3 - Elvis Presley

# 4 - Johnny Depp

# 5 - Isaiah Mustafa (of the Old Spice ads)

# 6 - David Hasselhoff

     I'm just a tad disturbed that I used to have those exact same slippers he's wearing in this photo ...  :(

           One of the holiday mainstays for the K.A.C. has always been Christmas in the Comics, with some of the more jaw-dropping examples of four-color Merry Mirthfulness. Rather than put up a number of different covers this year, I'm going to just go with this FANTASTIC Marvel Comics Group Christmas card ... this TOTALLY knocks me out! I'm thinking of getting a full-color printout of it and use it as my label for all of my Christmas packages next year ... what do you think? Originally I thought this might have come about during Marvel's Golden Age (the mid-1960s), when it had the Merry Marvel Marching Society and the fan club F.O.O.M. (Friends of Old Marvel ... and I'll spare you asking, yes, I WAS a member! :) ) going strong, but looking at the characters here, this would have been from the 1970s (Conan in the bottom left is a big tipoff). Upon further research, it turns out this was the 1970 Office Christmas card that Marvel sent out to business associates and fans. Great stuff!


           Our final Christmas tree story of the year comes out of Seattle - it's a clever variation of the old "tree is too big for the house" gag. This time homeowner Patrick Kruger went the extra mile, by adding fake roofing tiles and lighting it all to look like the tree was bursting through the roof.

     Speaking of final stories, let's leave you today with one final outrageous Christmas card. Sent out to family and friends by the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, it has everything you'd like to see in a holiday card. Happy family? Check. Cute kid? Check. A leopard delivering the death stroke to an unsuspecting animal? Check ... hey, wait ...


     Three more entries to go ... come back tomorrow!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 5 ...

# 1

     In response to a number of the ladies for their own quiz, here we go with a SECOND edition of Kringle's Khristmas Kuties ... the All-Male Edition! Mind you, this one was a LOT harder to put together than the first one ... not as many guys go for the Xmas photos, I guess. The rules are the same as before - identify the celeb by their numbers. No cheating! Answers will be here tomorrow - good luck!
# 3
# 2
# 4
# 5
# 6


K.A.C. 2012 - T - 6 ...

Six days out and The UK come through with a delightful spoof trailer on the latest James Bond epic ... why watch SKYFALL when you can see "Claus, Santa Claus" in SNOWFALL?! Take a look! 

           BREAKING NEWS !!! Stop whatever you are doing and set up your DVR for the 2012 K.A.C. MUST-SEE film of the year !!! Running on the SyFy Channel, it's called 'The 12 Disasters of Christmas' and combines the famous song with "Mayan prophesies" that are bringing about the end of the world ... and the teenage girl (Magda Apanowicz, pictured at right) who is "the chosen one" to save us all from the End Times ... the ABSOLUTE LUNACY of the plot, acting, special effects, etc. are almost beyond belief, but you MUST see this! It is on TONIGHT on the SyFy Channel and I'm sure they'll be repeating it over and over. I think this is the new annual Christmas film at our house! Check out the review below or just a TASTE of the holiday madness involved in this Christmas treat!

     As one reviewer said, "If you need a new Christmas drinking game, take a shot every time someone mentions "DOOM!" in this movie!"  

     Our final five begins tomorrow! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 7 ...

     We're winding down the K.A.C. for another year, do before I run out of space completely, let me turn the blog over to YOU for Readers Submission Day!    

     First up, Sean sent in this link ... and here I thought I'd have NOTHING to wear this Christmas! :) Check out this FANTASTIC Whovian shirt, courtesy of Shirtwoot! Weeping Angels, an Adipose ... even K-9! Here's where to get yours! 

     Not to be outdone, Patty sent me the link to a toy that outdoes the R2D2 version of Operation. Called  the Doctor Dreadful Alien Autopsy, it ... wow, I don't know where to begin with this! Let's see ... there's an alien autopsy with "motorized guts (that) come to life" ... where you "Eat everything you make!" 

     So this takes Mattel's old Incredible Edibles toy bug maker and updates it to today's sensibilites where kids can now cannibalize an alien. You know, IF we ever are visited by an extraterrestrial race, they are NOT going to take kindly to this! Here's the Amazon link, should you know a certain someone who would love this ...

     Let's wrap things up today with OUR type of Christmas Carol here at the K.A.C. - it's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog-Sothoth"!  Brought to you by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, the link also features a touching rendition of Freddy the Red-Brained Mi-Ho"! Give them a listen while you prepare for the end of the world this Friday!

     You can't make this stuff up! :) Back tomorrow with more!




Monday, December 17, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 8 ...

     And then there's this ... I'm not even going to say anymore about it. Just cut, paste and put it up as your desktop wallpaper. No, no, don't thank me ... it is the holidays, after all!  :)


     Of course I can't just leave poor Chewie up there all by himself without mentioning Life Day ... wait for it ... if you're of a certain age, you know where this is headed ... if not, it's time someone broke this to you and it might as well be me. No, I'm not talking about Santa Claus - I'm talking about the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. Volumes have been written about this piece of TV history, so I'm not going to go into it here. For the straight rundown on it, read the Wikipedia entry:

     Before we go any further with this, click on the picture at right and read that cast list. Feel your hold on reality starting to slip a bit? Bea Arthur, Art Carney and Jefferson Starship? What??? Bet you didn't know they were part of the Star Wars universe, did you? Neither did I when I first saw this on its one (and ONLY) airing back in the day.

     Words and pictures do not do this justice - it has to be seen to be believed. For a MUCH more irreverent take on it, check out the following article from   

     George Lucas has disowned it and it has never had an official video release. That's not to say you can't get it - there are plenty of copies out there via eBay and other sites. I have had a copy for a number of years, but Laura still won't let me show it to Justin!  :)  Which is even funnier considering all the other things he's seen, but that's another story ... so if you can't handle yet another version of a Christmas Carol this year, track down a copy of this. You'll run screaming back to Dickens in no time!

     Speaking of which, Thackery once said of the story (A Christmas Carol, NOT The Star Wars Holiday Special!), "It seems to me a national benefit, and to every man or woman who reads it a personal kindness". But do you know the circumstances behind the writing of the story? Were you aware that it almost didn't happen or that when Dickens wrote it he had more in common with Bob Cratchit than Ebenezer Scrooge? Take a few moments and read all about how it all came together in this article called The Second Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told. 

      Come back tomorrow as we begin our final week countdown!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 9 ...

     Breaking news! Forget every other post you've seen earlier this year on the K.A.C. regarding ugly Christmas sweaters ... beyond the hamburger or candy sweater ... even beyond the condom sweater (and I didn't believe that to be possible) ... our hands-down winner this year is the Do It Yourself iPad 'Crackling Fire' Christmas Sweater! Read all about it below and make SURE you take a look at the video to see this Bad Boy in action! All that technology ... and its come to this. 

     If you're going to go to all that trouble to look stylin', you should have a place to show it off, right? No, I don't mean some lame Ugly Sweater Party! I mean one of the twelve 'most Christmassy (is that even a word?) places in the world' - for example, Rovaniemi, Lapland. Just north of the Arctic Circle (and just perfect for that sweater - don't worry, the fake fireplace will keep you warm!), you can make cookies with Mrs. Claus and enroll in Elf School! Maybe they'll teach you all about frostbite, while they're at it. See what other bucket list holiday places you need to go to here! 

     I'm going to award a 13th honorary 'most Christmassy' place to Chicago, Illinois, who for the past 56 years (!) have an annual tradition on WGN-TV of starting the holiday season for the area children with the animated short of 'The Three Little Dwarfs'. If you're not familiar with the story of Hardrock, Coco and Joe, then see my blog entry of December 18th, 2010. For the rest of you, here's the link to the video of Santa's favorite helpers (a few days early)! 

     Come back tomorrow for more!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 10 ...

Welcome back! We're down to our final ten days before Christmas and we've still got lots of ground to cover, so let's go!

     Want to deliciously horrify your guests at this year's Christmas party? Then leave these 'pig in a blanket toadies' out for them to munch down as appetizers. Better yet, throw your voice in a high-pitched squeal whenever they bite into one! Hobbies for the easily amused ... 

     Have you finished sending out your Christmas cards yet? Do you even send them anymore? It seems the tradition of mailing Christmas cards is another one that is going on to the Yule Log as being out of fashion. I found this out earlier this month as Laura and I were getting ours ready to send out, along with the annual school picture of Justin, to our respective families. When I asked him if he knew of any other families who mailed cards out, he said, "Not really". It's sad, but I think my generation will probably be the last to mail them out on a regular basis. I still have a large number of cards my parents received over the years. Part of the appeal back then, of course, was the Christmas card was often the only time during the year that you would hear from particular family or friends, what with the hectic pace of daily life. With the Internet and instant communication, that has changed for all time. Take a look here at this window to the past with some cute (and creepy!) vintage Christmas cards. 

           Speaking of vintage cards, I truly like this one to your right, sent by Harry Houdini to friends and family in 1920. The famous 'escapeologist' seems unable to release himself from a Christmas stocking! :)

     Let's end today with this recent report that came out from BBC News ... about a traditional Christmas dessert ... Stollen cake, which is served every year in Germany.  Well, this year things got a little bit crazy in Dresden ... about THREE TONS worth of crazy! Click on the news link to see this MASSIVE beast that had to be wheeled in via horse-drawn carriage in this year's annual Stollenfest!

    That makes me full just looking at it! See you tomorrow!

Friday, December 14, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 11 ...

     Today we celebrate another staple of the season ... the snowman. While not a part of Christmas, per se, many families have fond memories of building snowmen as children in preparation for Santa's arrival. I always wondered about that as a kid ... turns out it was a way for the parents to get some peace and quiet in the house and a good way for the kids to let off their excess energy! And here I thought it was all about just building a guy made out of snow ... huh.

     One of the perennial holiday songs to rear its wintry head this time of year is 'Frosty the Snowman'. No, no, don't fear ... I can guarantee you won't see (or HEAR) anything more about him in this article - he's been done to death. Instead we have something MUCH more interesting for your perusal. Entitled Der Schneemann (also known as The Magic Snowman), it is a rarity to have survived at all. Why? It was made in 1944, during the height of World War II and created in Nazi Germany. What makes it even rarer is it is NOT a propaganda film, just a touching little tale about a snowman who comes to life and his adventures.

     The animation is rather reminiscent of the Fleischer Brothers Studios, especially at the 5:25 mark where the snowman approaches a cottage and skates along the fence to find the front door. It looks almost exactly like the multiplane camera process that both the Fleischer and Disney studios had in use at the time and is the only example of it I've seen outside of their cartoons.

     Go and take a look at the cartoon (courtesy of Xmas Flix on YouTube) here: 

     Oh, and if your German is rusty, here's the Wikipedia link to find out what he is singing at the end of the cartoon ...  

From German snowmen to modern times, we fast forward to this year's Doctor Who Christmas Special. Entitled "The Snowmen", it will air on Christmas night here on BBC America. I COULD tell you the plot, but that would be spoiling things. Instead, I'll leave you with the trailer and the announcement that just came out on what major star is voicing the head Snowman!

Trailer -  

Voice Actor Announcement -

     I'll spare you the 'Jack Frost' movies and their ilk and just say, "Why don't you get up from that computer and go out and build a snowman?" 


     Come back tomorrow as we begin our final 10 days of the K.A.C.! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 12 ...

     Every year in early December, the one Holiday Gift Guide I always look forward to the most is the one compiled by 'Quint' over at Ain't It Cool News. He covers EVERY aspect of fandom, breaking it down by both price and topic and the results are always jaw-dropping. Grab your favorite morning beverage and prepare to lose a few hours perusing the HUNDREDS of items you didn't even know you needed!

     This year's list is in three parts, which you can link to below:

Part 1 - 

Part 2 - 

Part 3 - 

     If you dig deep enough and long enough, you will find (along with the Wickedly Awesome and Totally Cool items) some of the most OUTRAGEOUS gifts that are SURE to lift eyebrows and elicit more than one yell of, "WHAT THE **** IS THAT DOING UNDER MY TREE?" And isn't that the kind of response you hope for every Christmas? NO? Hmmm ... must just be OUR family tradition, then! :)

     So here are my votes for the 5 Most Outrageous Gifts of 2012 from these lists ... if you're stuck for a memorable last-minute gift idea, hop on as we once again ride to the rescue!

     At # 5 we have the Blu-ray DVD Collector's Set edition of AMC's The Walking Dead, Season 2. Seen here in a TRULY eye-gouging ... er, eye-CATCHING case, when you're ready to sit down and view it, just pull up on the zombie's head via the handy screwdriver and grab your DVD set from his rotting neck! Hey, who WOULDN'T want this sitting and staring at them everyday on their DVD shelf? (As a total aside, do you know I've never seen a single episode of this show? It's true! You would think it would be match made in ... well, somewhere ... but it just hasn't come about ... yet). If you're itchin' to own it, here's the Amazon link:

     At # 4, for the more artistically inclined comes this limited edition print just PERFECT for your combination Star Trek/Grunge Rock fan.
Entitled "Captain Kirk Cobain", with this Bad Boy framed on your wall, you set phasers on TASTELESS and becomes the talk of your clique at Warp Speed! Alex Pardee's print is available here for the truly demented! 

     At # 3 is ... wait, is that a ROCKING CHAIR? Yes, yes it is ... but not just ANY rocking chair. This, my friends, is the iRock. As Quint says, "It has the dock for your iDevice, it has speakers near the head of the chair that will pump the sound of your iPad/iPod to your head… and, most importantly, the rocking motion of the chair charges your device. You need to have one of these when the apocalypse hits because the gas for your generator won’t last forever and when you go out into the wastes to find fuel that’s when things always go wrong. So, you can keep your movies, music, books and Angry Birds going without that pesky electricity". It's also a pricey $1,300.00, but what else are you going to do with that money ... save it for retirement? Read all the specs here:

     At # 2 is a trifecta of Star Wars goodies, all of which make me smile - first is the Star Wars version of Operation, with R2-D2 as the unlucky patient ... you get to pull out all the yucky things making R2 sick, like "Death Star Plans, malfunctioning rocket thrusters and any memory of Anakin Skywalker being Darth Vader (not kidding, there’s actually a “bad memory module” in the shape of Vader’s helmet!)". For the budding doctor in your family, here you go! 

     There's also two variations of Han Solo in  Carbonite: the tasty Han encased in chocolate (as seen at left), courtesy of the inventive folks at ... you can order at the link below, but do so soon, as this sold out quickly last year!

     Why just gnaw on Frozen Han when you can drink him down, as well? (Yeah, that doesn't sound exactly right ...) - sit around with your friends and help defrost the scruffy ol' nerf-herder with the Frozen Han Ice Cube Trays! You can fill them with water for a regular party OR fill them with Jello and have a Jello Shot Han Party ... (Man, this gets worse and worse the more I try to describe it ...). You can order yours here!

      Which brings us to # 1. What can I say about this one to do it justice? It's the perfect gift for parents (especially brand-new or soon-to-be brand-new parents), grandparents who remember what it was like to be parents, nursing mothers, soon-to-be- nursing mothers and especially mothers-who-are-thankful-EVERY-DAY-that-thery're-no-longer-nursing-mothers (Whew)!

     What is it, you ask? Just what it looks like! I'll let Quint describe it for you ... "That’s right, I put a boob in my Holiday Guide. And I’d do it again. What is that thing, you may ask… actually, you know what that is. The real question is why, not what and I’ll tell you my friends. That is a creamer. You put the cream for your coffee in there, give it a squeeze and guess what squirts out? Yep, you’re catching on! Gag gift or creepy single guy living alone enjoying creaming his coffee a little too much every morning. You make the call."

     It's real, it's outrageous and it's available over at Amazon for slightly over $10! 

 And with that, you should be GUARANTEED not to be invited over again for Christmas! :)


     Only eleven entries left - come back tomorrow for more!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

K.A.C. 2012 - T - 13 ...

     If there's one staple about Christmas and the holiday season in general, it's FOOD! From office parties to holiday baking, it's all food, food and MORE food - a regular glutton's delight! 

     One of our big hits last year was the Gingerbread Tardis, complete with instructions on how to make your own. Not to be outdone, this year we present the Gingerbread Millenium Falcon! Take a look at all this scrumptiousness, along with the house from UP and more!   

     Very artistic, right? A baker's delight, one to be talked about and admired for the skill of the craftsmen involved. Well, the same can NOT be said for the folks who made THESE Confectionary Catastrophes! From the good folks at Cake Wrecks come the 12 Wrecks of Christmas!

     Which (of course) leads us to our annual fruitcake story. Take a look at the photo on your left ... typical fruitcake, wouldn't you say? How much would you pay for it? Ten dollars, maybe twenty? Try a whopping $525.00!!! =:O Yep, a 1941 fruitcake sold for that much just last year - read all about it here!

     With all that food rumbling around in your stomach, you're going to need something to wash it down with ... let's assume the stock of Santa's Butt from earlier is all sold out ... how about something with a more traditional holiday flavor, like Target's 'Red Velvet Chocolate Holiday Milk'? Personally, that makes my tongue curl just LOOKING at the picture! If that doesn't do it for you, there's also Pear Tree and Sugar Plum soda (!), as well as Pumpkin Pie and Peppermint Pringles and ... you know what? I'm getting ill just writing about all this - go see the slideshow for these new "taste treats".

     OK, I'm full ... how about you? Give me a night to sleep off this food coma and I'll be back with more tomorrow!