Friday, December 24, 2010

Fox of the Year, Rome, Best Santas and…Merry Christmas!….

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! If a little holiday Update does knock the baahumbug out of your system, I fear only a severe blow to the chin will do the same job. This Update is a gift that you have to unwrap with your eyes…Read on…

The undetonated bomb found yesterday outside of Rome was unfortunately not the only parcel bomb floating around the area. The bombs were sent to embassies, injuring staff members from Switzerland and Chile. Italians experts in terror (not shoe design, the typical Italian expertise) believe anarchists could have been behind the attack. The Swiss helped Italy arrest several anarchists this year, and another anarchists was killed in Chile by law enforcement officials there. These bombings are in all likelihood related to a string of very similar parcel bombs that took place in Greece, where a group of anarchists (organized anarchy!) called the Conspiracy of Fire, was finally understood to have orchestrated the violence. The Greeks have initially stated they see no connection between the two strings of bombings, but, they all are a terrible government. The Swiss man injured in the bombings in Rome has been hospitalized with serious injures to his hands.

The first recorded “sighting” of Santa Claus in these United States was in Albany, New York way, way, way back in 1675 on a bank account statement. A man purchased, for the holiday season, “St. Nicholas purchases” a cleaver way to hide what he bought from his family. However, the legend of the chubby, bearded gentleman with a garish but signature red suit comes from Turkey around 280 AD. The name “Santa Claus” wasn’t associated with the figure until the Dutch slapped him with their version as “Sinter Claus”, though he was still more popularly known around Europe as “Saint Nicholas”. In Britain, Santa was “Father Christmas”, a bearded old man most often portrayed in long green robes. Charles Dickens used this image as the basis for the “Ghost of Christmas Past” in his famous The Christmas Carol. Washington Irving, the outstanding author most well-known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, mentioned Santa in his History of New York in 1809. More on the development of the Chubby One later…

Great Santas in History: Cosmo Kramer.

In what is appearing now to be not-so-amatear football, five Ohio State Buckeye football participates have been suspended to five games a piece next season. Now, first, the obvious question. Why are they not suspended for the upcoming Sugar Bowl against Arkansas? As the Bohunk always says; money. (I don’t say that without some context though) The Big Ten and SEC stand to make millions in tickets sales and shared profit from the bowl game. Taking away former Heisman candidate and one of the best quarterbacks in the country, Terelle Pryor, number one rusher Noah Herron, number two receiver DeVier Posey and All Big-Ten tackle Mike Adams might make the game less attractive, and therefore, less lucrative. So, the NCAA shamelessly tacks on the penalty to next season. With almost half the season taken away, these players will probably attempt to declare for the NFL, avoid any punishment whatsoever, and make some money in the pros. Not harm done, to them at least. Second, does anyone see the obvious parallel with Cam Newton? Make him eligible all year, huge ratings, a Heisman trophy and a national championship game and tons of revenue. But when all the checks are cashed and the lights go out, they will yank it all away and make him ineligible. This will develop slowly, and, go Razorbacks, as if anyone needed any more reasons to hate Ohio State.

In honor of the season, the Pope gets another mention on the Update. Yesterday, the Pontiff joined Britain’s Radio 4 to deliver a Thought of the Day Message, a daily contribution from politicians and celebrities to meditate for the world to hear. The Pope usually stays up late to deliver a Christmas message to the world outside the Basilica in Rome, but offered an opportunity to thank Britain for his week long stay there in September. The Pope did not address any of the many, many issues plaguing the Catholic church after its worst year in memory. It faced thousands of sexual misconduct and assault charges, bringing the amount of damages paid to over a billion dollars worldwide. Pope Benedict also did not bring up the issue of Anglican bishops leaving the Church of England to join ranks in Rome, even as those bishops and officials are in the Vatican studying to become ordained priests. New equipment is now available for Vatican TV, the media organization who broadcasts papal goings-on in over 40 languages. Now, you can watch Christmas Mass from the Vatican…Or A Christmas Story on TBS about 22 times.

Great Santas in History: Pam Anderson.

It is now time, thank goodness, to present the 2010 Flying Bohunk Fox of the Year, a prestige award capable of propelling one lucky Fox to worldwide stardom and fame. The conditions to be nominated were complex; 1) Had to be a Fox 2) Had to be nominated. The votes were tallied (all four of them, plus the only one that really counts, mine) and the Bohunk has been excited for days to release the results. Your 2010 Fox of the Year, and I think all of ours’ “teenage dream” is….Katy Perry! Born in California (hence the appropriateness of the hit jam, “California Girls”, KP was raised by Christian pastors. She nabbed a GED as a freshman in high school (I was popping zits as a freshman in high school, not graduating) and moved on to pursue her music career. She has had some great hits this year, from “Teenage Dream” to “Fireworks”, and has been extremely attractive at every turn, including, it should be noted, way too foxy for Sesame Street. Elmo was overly excited. Congrats, Katy Perry, and may your Foxitude last for many years to come…

Fox of the Year, and just cool person, Katy Perry…


In the on-going development of Santa Clause, the author Clement Clark Moore wrote “The Night Before Christmas”, though it is really titled “A Visit From Saint Nicholas”, depicting a chubby bearded man, not elf, wearing a red suit and a massive sack of presents perched on his back. It also heralded in the presence of a sleigh, reindeer and an even rounder, more jolly appearance. It took thousands of years to develop the creepy old man dressed up in bad cotton that you let your child sit on and talk to. Oh how far we’ve come.

Finally, let’s celebrate the season with a miracle. Our Solar Sytstem, in fact. The universe is an unfathomably gigantic void. It is almost entirely empty, even considering that, for example, our Sun, which is millions of time larger than Earth, is pretty small amongst its fellow stars. The universe is, frankly, too large to even comprehend. Even our solar system is beyond our reach. Pluto, now demoted down from planet status to just another celestial entity in the Kuiper Belt, is really, really far away. It is 39 AUs from the sun (AU= astronomical unit, or the distance from the Sun to the Earth) or, about 3,647,240,000 miles away. We can barely get to the moon without a hassle, and getting to Mars with a manned mission is almost impossible (cosmic rays that get through its atmosphere would tear up the very DNA of astronauts) let alone likely. But let us put this distance in perspective. As Bill Bryson pointed out in A Brief History of Nearly Everything,  if the Sun was the period of this sentence, and you wanted to draw Pluto to scale, you would have to travel 10,000 miles away. Pluto would be the size of a bacterium. Or, if the Sun was the size of the head of the smallest needle, Pluto would be a few hundred miles away, and the size of a single atom. How our solar system came to be was that of the most staggering odds. Indeed, there are billions and billions and billions of solar systems, just trillions and trillions and trillions of them. 600 sextillion stars in the universe. And we found the right galaxy, the right star, the right planet to somehow make life over hundreds of millions of years. Do not feel small; we should be proud and privileged to live, even for a second, in the face of the trillions of beings who never had a chance. We don’t know everything, we know almost nothing. The universe, my friends, is the greatest mystery.

Have a very Merry Christmas and congrats again to Katy Perry. What a Christmas this must be for her! Enjoy your Christmas Eve and Christmas and the Bohunk Update returns Monday with some New Years resolutions…

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