Deck the halls with unusual Christmas season stories, falalalala, lala, lala

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

We’re officially in the holiday season, when life is lived at the fullest, stress levels raise, and we all have a great time.

So, take a break from all that hustle and bustle, and learn a few things about Christmas that you may have missed.

• In Australia, David Richards decided to celebrate by putting up 31 miles of Christmas lights around his house and break a Guinness World record.

According to CNN, The lawyer and his family strung more than a half a million bulbs around their house in the Australian capital city of Canberra to reclaim the title for lights on a residential property.

(My question is: What is the rest of the city doing for electricity when he turns these lights on?)

• Hallmark decided to alter a 19th-century Christmas carol on one of its ornaments to say “Don we now our fun apparel” from “”Don we now our gay apparel.”

Hallmark issued multiple statements on the matter, a television station reports. Unlike when the song’s English lyrics were published in the 19th century, “gay” today “has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation.”

(The “fun” ornament remains on sale and will no doubt become a collector’s item.)

• Texas schools this season officially operate under the “Merry Christmas” bill, signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry in June. It also protects schools for decorating with seasonal religious symbols, such as menorahs and nativity scenes, so long as there is also a symbol from at least one other religion and a secular symbol, the AP reports.

• Sarah Palin’s book, a defense of traditional Christmas values, is a critical look at the “over-commercialism” of Christmas, according to AP. (The hardcover version of “Good Tidings and Great Joy” sells on Amazon for $13.92. That’s discounted from $22.99.)

• Everyone has seen the Christmas classic “Home Alone,” but have you ever thought about how the bandits played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern survived all that pounding? In the cartoon world, it’s easy. They just go to the next scene.

But here is a doctor’s assessment of how the real world works:

Stern was smacked in the forehead with an iron, and he probably would have had bones around his eyes fractured, and if not treated properly, could have ended up seriously disfigured.

Pesci’s scalp gets blow-torched: Considering Pesci remains under the torch for a good seven seconds, he would have ended up with skin and bone tissue so damaged he might have needed a transplant.

Both burglars take paint cans to the face: They likely would have been knocked out.

(I did not click for the whole list, but you get the drift. BTW, the coyote in the Roadrunner cartoons is still alive.)

• Researchers in Norway and the Netherlands compared reindeer noses to human noses and found that reindeer have 25 percent more blood vessels in their nasal lining, which helps to control body temperature — an important task when you’re flying all around the globe in a single evening. Researchers had reindeer walk on a treadmill, and observed that afterward, “they do indeed have red noses,” MedPage Today reports.

(So, it’s not just Rudolph?)

• Of course, there is always some scientist that needs to throw a monkey wrench into my decision to finally get a live tree this year. I should say real tree, since it has been cut, but what do you really get?
An avalanche of bugs is likely riding the Christmas Tree Express straight into your living room, reports a newswire. A scientist cited research that has found as many as 25,000 insects — ranging from bark lice to moths to mites — living in a single tree. The lights and heat spur them to come out of hibernation, but don’t fear a creepy, crawly bug invasion: “As they cannot feed on the limited plants found in most households, the bugs will quickly dry out and die,” says the scientist.

(Just don’t hug your tree for a while. Scientists, please refrain from educating us until Jan 1. Actually, Jan. 2 or later. We won’t be able to pay attention on Jan. 1.)

• Criminals in a Canadian city will be receiving an unexpected Christmas card this year ... from the police chief.

The card being sent out to “prolific offenders, property offenders, and persons known for drug and gang activity” feature the chief wearing a Santa suit (and a bulletproof vest and helmet) and packing automatic weapons. “Which list will you be on next year?” it asks, and inside there’s a number to call if the card manages to inspire any of the recipients to switch on over to the “nice” list and turn his or her life around.

(Question: If the police chief has these criminals’ address, why don’t they just go and get them? The card is a nice gesture, though.)

• Back in the U.S., the dispute over whether a woman in Louisiana can put up lights in the shape of a middle finger has been settled.

Sarah Childs was in a dispute with some of her neighbors in Denham Springs, just east of Baton Rouge, and decided to send a message with her decorations. Neighbors complained, and police threatened to arrest her, so she and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sued the city. A judge ruled in her favor this week, citing her rights to free speech and due process, reports the AP.

(Santa does not leave presents when those lights are on. I guess she is not going to have a Merry Christmas!)