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September 23, 2019

Why We Hate Snow

Snow, i think we all have a love hate relationship with it as drivers. People’s reactions to snow always amuse me, mainly because of they vary so much. From kids praying for a white Xmas, to the foreign students who had never seen snow, to London commuters ditching work to making snowmen on the beach, and then those drivers who think ice and rear wheel drive city cars are a match made in heaven

Getting to work or just going about your day in the snow is a task and a half, normal families don’t all have 4×4 s or the new All Wheel Drive cars, so are left to the mercy of the blizzard and underlying frost, panicking every time the wheel spins on a lump of ice or the person in front skids over a junction. In many countries snow is part of everyday life, but in those countries that are not used to arctic conditions, snow can bring its dangers as well as its amusements.

None drivers also have their share of problems in the snow, from snowdrifts that go over the tops of your wellingtons, to ice covered pavements that make every step a potential broken bone. This collection of photos show both the hazardous and funny side to our winter visitor for drivers and none drivers alike.

A snowman seeks safety behind a tree from a snow blower

A tiger decides to help out clearing a parking space

Perhaps this guy will take the bus next time

The Mailboxes are shocked at how late the post van is

This is called the Coke slider

Not the best place to park

Bad parking or art

This can’t be a mistake

How did they get up there?

This is what you need in the snow, something with HUGE wheels

Take more than a ice scraper to move this ice

Takeoff… whoooops!

Forgot where we parked the car, i can hear the alarm

Turn up the car heater, its a bit nippy

I don’t think I’ll take my bike today

Think I’ll leave the missile at home today

Stormtrooper Christmas Card

Christmas cards don’t come much geekier than this. This adorable stormtrooper couple succeeded in making their Christmas cards a little more interesting this holiday season.

Steampunk Etch-A-Sketch

Reddit user HaloKitty put together this fully functional steam punk etch-a-sketch. I wish I had one of these when I was a kid.

Etch A Sketch is a registered trademark for a mechanical drawing toy manufactured by the Ohio Art Company.

An Etch A Sketch is a thick, flat gray screen in a plastic frame. There are two knobs on the front of the frame in the lower corners. Twisting the knobs moves a stylus that displaces aluminium powder on the back of the screen, leaving a solid line. The knobs create lineographic images. The left control moves the stylus horizontally, and the right one moves it vertically.

The Etch A Sketch was introduced near the peak of the Baby Boom, and is one of the best known toys of that generation. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Etch A Sketch to its Century of Toys List, a roll call commemorating the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the 20th century. It remains popular to this day.

Mythical Creature Found In Kentucky

Mark Cothren shot and killed an animal on Dec. 18 because he said he feared what it was, since he did not recognize it. Rumors are it’s the Chupacabra – also known as the “Goat Sucker”.

15 Insane Xmas Traditions

Have you ever wondered how the rest of the world celebrates Xmas, and whether their  traditions are very different to that of the U.S or U.K? Well i have tracked down a whole host of these Global Christmas traditions for you, feel free to share them with your relatives over the Yuletide and “thank god” your Xmas is pretty normal. First lets take a look at the origins of Christmas, before the Christians adopted the end of year Celebration it was actually only known for being the winter solstice – 25th of December, and pagans would celebrate the return of the sun, that’s sun .. not son. It was to bare witness to the suns return and rejoice that it had not been conquered by the dark nights and in many ways its return from the dead. They called this the ‘Birthday of the Unconquered’ and it bares many similarities to the birth of Jesus on Christmas day.

Austria – Krampus

In Austria they celebrate the legend of Santa’s helper Krampus, Krampus would accompany St Nicholas as he delivered his presents to children, it was his job to scare, hit and punish children who had been bad and therefore did not deserve gifts from St Nicholas. Krampus is represented as a demon creature, very similar to the first depictions of the devil with his almost goat like appearance. In modern day Austria young men dress up as Krampus and roam the streets scaring children and shaking bells and chains.

Portugal – Zombie Xmas Dinner

In Portugal the dead are respected at Xmas and extra places are even lain out for the dead as Xmas dinner, the plates are also filled as a gift to the dead and they believe that by welcoming these souls that their own new year will be happy and blessed.

Ukraine – Spiders Web

The tradition of the spider in the tree comes from an old legend of a poor widow and her children who could not afford to decorate their Xmas tree, as they had only enough money to feed themselves. The tale goes that the children wake up their mother on Xmas morning so excited that the tree is decorated, the widow finds that a spider has covered the tree in a web that is glittering in the light. The web then turned into gold and silver and the family were no longer poor.

Modern tradition is to hide a plastic spider in the tree to signify the coming of a fortunate year.

Norway – Hide the Brooms

In Norway they believe that on Christmas eve, witches and evil spirits try to steal your broom, and so they hide all the brooms in the house. Not sure why witches choose this night to nick a broom, but beware Harry Potter.

Latvia –  Mumming

They love dressing up in Latvia, and the most famous tradition at Xmas is called Mumming. This is where locals wear really unusual costumes and masks, ranging from animals like bears and goats to zombies and haystacks. Not sure how you would exactly create a haystack outfit, but i guess they manage to pull it off.

Czech Republic – Shoes for love

Women who are single in the Czech Republic go through a rather strange ritual on Christmas eve, they face away from their front door and throw a shoe over their shoulder. If the heel lands facing the door then she will remain single in the coming year, if the shoes toe faces the door then she will marry within the year.

Greece – Kallikantzaroi

In Greece to guard against evil spirits called Kallikantzaroi that live deep underground, some traditional families will hang a pig jaw inside the chimney to keep the evil spirits from descending into their homes.

Greenland – Eating rotten Auk

A food that is traditionally eaten at Christmas in Greenland is Kiviak, or rotten Auk. Yes something that would gift quick weight loss if presented as the only Xmas fare to most people. The whole dead Auk (bird) is wrapped in a seal skin and buried under a rock and left out in the snow and frost for a few months. Then at Christmas is is dug up and all the rotten guts removed and the skin eaten, it is said to taste very tangy and smells of Stilton cheese.

Spain – The Catalan or the pooping log

Hers one for all the family, in Spain family’s buy a Catalan log, this is a hollowed out log with a smiling face on it. They generally look like a dog or deer, with funny little constructed legs. The family then begin filling or feeding the log until it is full of candy and toys for Christmas day. The children then beat the log until it literally poops out gifts and sweets. The song the children sing is particularly catchy “Poop log, poop turron, hazelnuts and cottage cheese, if you don’t poop well, I’ll hit you with a stick, poop log!”

Catalonia – El Caganer (the great defecator)

Yes, this is a little defecating statue that appears in the Nativity scene, just perhaps not any that you have seen. He is generally a tiny monk or peasant that is placed in the corner of the Nativity scene. It might sounds rather unpleasant having a man pooing just across from Jesus being born, but El Caganer is actually representing fertilization and a good coming harvest.

Itlay – La Befana the witch

This is a funny little legend of a kindly old witch, that on their way to Bethlehem the wise men from the East ask La Befana for shelter. which she grants. The next morning they ask her to join them in their search for the special baby boy born to god. Befana refuses saying that she has cleaning to do, you have got the admire the tenacity of a witch. By the time Befana finally follows the Margi, she is too late and cannot find the baby, it is said that from now on she searches each Xmas for the baby Jesus in peoples homes. Italian children put out wine and food for the witch and in turn Befana leaves a present for them, not knowing which one of them is the baby Jesus.

Amsterdam – Black Peter

I remember seeing this when i visited Amsterdam last year, there were 100’s of children dressed up as Black Peter with blacked-up faces, which was pretty bizarre. Black Peter is associated with St Nicholas in much the same way as Krampus is, he is the sidekick of Santa Claus, and would give out coal and beat children who had been naughty through the year. It is also thought that St Nicholas is the representation of god and Back Peter was his servant the devil.

Wales – The Grey Mare

In Wales a Xmas tradition is for making money using a horse skull, hummm. Basically people find an old horse skull and stick this on a pike, cover this in a old sheet and go out in the streets. If they make the skull bite someone, then this person must give them money.

Germany – The pickle ornament

Although most families finish decorating their trees with a Christmas star, but in Germany they have a tradition of adding a pickle ornament last. The first child to find the pickle on the tree gets an extra present and is blessed with luck for the coming year.

Sweden – Burning the goat

In the Swedish town of Gavle, they build and erect a giant goat made of straw the celebrate Xmas, and is lit on Christmas Day. Although vandals almost always get to the goat before Xmas as set it alight.

Lilly normally blogs about weight loss diets and special food planning for dinner parties such as all meat and no carb diets. Don’t think she will be offering the rotten Auk on her plates though.

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Total Lunar Eclipse

Yesterday, December 21, was a unique day – the winter solstice and the amazing longest night of the year. In addition, at night you could watch a total lunar eclipse (a combination of all these circumstances, only comes once in 400 years). This video was shot in Geynsville (Florida) from 1:10 to 5:03. Posted it on Vimeo user Kastelmen William (William Castleman) to the music of Claude Debussy’s “Nocturnes: Sirens. ” In Russia, a total lunar eclipse seen the residents of Vladivostok.

In what language do deaf people think?

Dear Cecil:

In what language do deaf people think? I think in English, because that’s what I speak. But since deaf people cannot hear, they can’t learn how to speak a language. Nevertheless, they must think in some language. Would they think in English if they use sign language and read English? How would they do that if they’ve never heard the words they are signing or reading pronounced? Or maybe they just see words in their head, instead of hearing themselves?

— Cathy, Malvern, Pennsylvania

You’re on the right track, kid. But first a little detour. Your speculations raise a larger question: Can you think without language? Answer: Nope, at least not at the level humans are accustomed to. That’s why deafness can have far more serious consequences than blindness, developmentally speaking. The blind suffer many hardships, not the least of which is the inability to read in the usual manner. But even those sightless from birth acquire language by ear without difficulty in infancy, and having done so lead relatively ordinary lives. A congenitally deaf child isn’t so lucky: unless someone realizes very early that he’s not talking because he can’t hear, his grasp of communication may never progress beyond the rudiments.

The language of the deaf is a vast topic that has filled lots of books–one of the best is Seeing Voices: A Journey Into the World of the Deaf by Oliver Sacks (1989). All I can do in this venue is sketch out a few basic propositions:

The folks at issue here are both (a) profoundly and (b) prelingually deaf. If you don’t become totally deaf until after you’ve acquired language, your problems are . . . well, not minor, but manageable. You think in whatever spoken language you’ve learned. Given some commonsense accommodation during schooling, you’ll progress normally intellectually. Depending on circumstances you may be able to speak and lip-read.

About one child in a thousand, however, is born with no ability to hear whatsoever. Years ago such people were called deaf-mutes. Often they were considered retarded, and in a sense they were: they’d never learned language, a process that primes the pump for much later development. The critical age range seems to be 21 to 36 months. During this period children pick up the basics of language easily, and in so doing establish essential cognitive infrastructure. Later on it’s far more difficult. If the congenitally deaf aren’t diagnosed before they start school, they may face severe learning problems for the rest of their lives, even if in other respects their intelligence is normal.

The profoundly, prelingually deaf can and do acquire language; it’s just gestural rather than verbal. The sign language most commonly used in the U.S. is American Sign Language, sometimes called Ameslan or just Sign. Those not conversant in Sign may suppose that it’s an invented form of communication like Esperanto or Morse code. It’s not. It’s an independent natural language, evolved by ordinary people and transmitted culturally from one generation to the next. It bears no relationship to English and in some ways is more similar to Chinese–a single highly inflected gesture can convey an entire word or phrase. (Signed English, in which you’ll sometimes see words spelled out one letter at a time, is a completely different animal.) Sign can be acquired effortlessly in early childhood–and by anyone, not just the deaf (e.g., hearing children of deaf parents). Those who do so use it as fluently as most Americans speak English. Sign equips native users with the ability to manipulate symbols, grasp abstractions, and actively acquire and process knowledge–in short, to think, in the full human sense of the term. Nonetheless, “oralists” have long insisted that the best way to educate the deaf is to teach them spoken language, sometimes going so far as to suppress signing. Sacks and many deaf folk think this has been a disaster for deaf people.

The answer to your question is now obvious. In what language do the profoundly deaf think? Why, in Sign (or the local equivalent), assuming they were fortunate enough to have learned it in infancy. The hearing can have only a general idea what this is like–the gulf between spoken and visual language is far greater than that between, say, English and Russian. Research suggests that the brain of a native deaf signer is organized differently from that of a hearing person. Still, sometimes we can get a glimpse. Sacks writes of a visit to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where hereditary deafness was endemic for more than 250 years and a community of signers, most of whom hear normally, still flourishes. He met a woman in her 90s who would sometimes slip into a reverie, her hands moving constantly. According to her daughter, she was thinking in Sign. “Even in sleep, I was further informed, the old lady might sketch fragmentary signs on the counterpane,” Sacks writes. “She was dreaming in Sign.”

— Cecil Adams

Via: Straightdope

A Little Bit Weird and Creepy Christmas

CREEPY CHRISTMAS

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly!  Well, it certainly is – but for some, they prefer their Christmas to be a little bit weird.  And, occasionally downright creepy.  Here’s my pick of those winter gems…

Let’s start with the underwear pressie… and this must qualify as one of the most unsettling ads.

When it comes to ornaments the East Europeans do it best.

Or how about this American bauble oddity? According to LA at Home the ornament sprouting feet represents the fusion of ‘the animate and inanimate, the natural and the commercial, the end of winter and the beginning of the spring.’  Okayyyy.

Not impressed? Perhaps size matters? Then opt for this neighbour-impressing garden bauble.

Wanting to completely freak out your guests and relatives?  Then look no further than this Christmas tree decoration. A ‘Baby Angel’…


Outside you might want to put this on your roof.  Or maybe not.

Going to your town centre you might see this large bear decoration – what is it with those eyes?!

Christmas parties are all about having fun and this means dressing up.  Get your sprogling in on the act in this rather tasteful/horrible (delete as appropriate) roast turkey costume.

Crikey. This one’s a bit cuter.

Part of the seasonal shopping experience is taking your child to a Shop Santa.  Just be careful which one you choose.

When it comes to sending cards you can go for familiar scenes or you can go truly traditional with this Christmas Pigs card.

Or perhaps something more fun?

And to finish off let’s take a look at a couple of odder gifts.

How about this ad for the Gillette Safety Razor?

Been watching Alien?

If all this cold weather gives you the sniffles then perhaps this is the ideal gift?

You like music? You love you iPod?  You take it everywhere with you?

What, everywhere?

Greg is a guest blogger and when he’s not pulling a cracker (and getting a slap from his wife) he’s hard at work debugging websites and making sure they display nicely in most browsers.

The World’s most expensive Christmas card

This is a fairly clever (albeit expensive) way to give someone an iPhone for Christmas.However, they’ll probably be disappointed that all you got them was a card, cheapskate.

How to make the World’s most expensive Christmas card at home. You’ll need paper, card, an iPhone and Bauble. Click here to download Bauble: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bauble…
The cost of the iPhone and a phone contract, plus the cost of the cardboard, glue, and sparkly embellishments make this the most expensive Christmas card in the world. You can pick up a cheap iPhone from eBay if you don’t want to risk mailing a brand new one. Happy crafting!

Remi Gaillard Ruins Christmas

Is it me, or are Remi Gaillard’s pranks getting darker and darker?

Who is Remi Gaillard VIA Wikipedia:
Rémi Gaillard (born 7 February 1975 in Montpellier, France) is a french prankster and football trickster. He gained attention in the French media after performing a well-documented series of pranks, including a famous appearance disguised as a Lorient football player in the 2002 Coupe de France final match, during which he took part in the winner’s celebrations and was even greeted by the then president of France Jacques Chirac. Gaillard has appeared in several sport events, TV game shows and political rallies, normally breaking the security measures easily.

According to an interview, Gaillard started his pranks after losing his job at a shoe store. He allegedly began to use his free time to “have fun”.

Gaillard is known for his football skills, which are displayed in a few of his videos. The videos themselves consist of various trick shots and football tricks.

Gaillard’s motto is “C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on devient n’importe qui” in translation: “It’s by doing whatever that you become whoever”, by which he explains the reason for his behavior. He became famous through his YouTube channel, on which most of his videos can be found. One of Remi Gaillard’s dearest friends is Oisin Hennessy Harbitz, who has helped him in many of his videos. His friends Iqbal, Steven, Theo, William, David and little Kevin have suggested ideas for his various pranks and stunts.

In a more recent video, Gaillard used the motto “C’est en faisant n’importe quoi qu’on vit l’amour fou

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