Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

cartoons of the christmas moment, as australia burns...



holiday reading...



time of the year... 

year person


the qween speeechh



the original santa and a few derivatives....



NY worse than paris


You may have learned in a college course on the history of advertising that Santa Claus was invented by 19th century New York cartoonist Thomas Nast. Others consider the Ghost of Christmas Past to be the genesis of the modern Santa. The roots of Santa Claus go all the way back to pagan Germanic folklore or to an actual 6th century Saint Nick, or both. But there’s no question that Nast, and the Nast-inspired portrait of a Coke-chugging Santa, is the most immediate template for the fat, jolly man who symbolizes the secular version of Christmas in which good tidings of great joy are plentiful, but not inspired by anyone or anything in particular.

For a long time it felt like secular Christmas did not so much compete with the religious version, but complement it or harmlessly parallel it. It was a civic, American phenomenon, a universalized version of the Christian holiday, not mutually exclusive from it. Those who have grown up during the “war on Christmas” era, or who view “Season’s Greetings” as a secular affront, might be surprised that the Eisenhower White House’s 1957 Christmas card was bannered with exactly that salutation.

That same year, C.S. Lewis penned an essay on the meaning of Christmas, or rather, on three of them: the religious event, the jolly season, and the “commercial racket,” which is “good for trade.” The first two are perfectly compatible with each other, he argued, while the third one is destructive of both, a sentiment that may have been prescient rather than obvious back in the ’50s. Lewis’s essay nonetheless demonstrates that neither the secularization nor the commercialization of Christmas is new. 


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Meanwhile in OLD New York, things were bizarre for New Jersey:

new york

Cartoon by Thomas Nash...

Meanwhile, one learns somethin' everyday about Rudolph red nose...:

The reindeer is the emblematic Christmas animal and, while not exactly magical, it is among the best adapted to snowy conditions.

For a start, a reindeer’s feet have four toes with dewclaws that spread out to distribute its weight like snowshoes, and are equipped with sharp hooves for digging in snow.

reindeer’s nose warms the air on its way to the lungs, cooling it again before it is exhaled. As well as retaining heat, this helps prevent water from being lost as vapour. This is why reindeer breath does not steam like human and horse breath.

A reindeer’s thick double-layered coat is so efficient that it is more likely to overheat than get too cold, especially when running. When this happens, reindeer pant like dogs to cool down, bypassing the nasal heat exchanger.

Snowfields may be featureless to human eyes, but reindeer are sensitive to ultraviolet light, an evolutionary development that only occurred after the animals moved to Arctic regions. Snow reflects ultraviolet, so this ultravision allows reindeer to spot anything lying on it, in particular lichen, which they eat, and traces of urine showing where other reindeer have passed.

But while reindeer thrive in Christmas-card weather, they are increasingly challenged by climate change and the freeze-thaw conditions that produce poor grazing.


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