Saturday, December 31, 2011

Attack of the Zombie Snowpersons!

You thought they were snowmen, didn't you?  Jolly happy souls, made of snow, who occasionally came to life.

And sure, some of those snowmen and snow-women you see are the jolly happy souls.

Then there are... the Un Dead.  The snowpeeps who are no longer among the living, who search for brains, who lose limbs and don't seem to notice or care.

Try the zombie checklist:

  • Snowman zombies are undead. This means they used to be dead, but are somehow reanimated .
  • Zombies don't walk.  They shuffle, slide, and roll. 
  • Zombies generally have their arms outstretched.

  • Zombies don't talk.  They do make sounds -- usually something like "Aaaaaangh!" or "Braiiiiiiiiiins!"
  • Zombies wear dirty torn clothes, if they wear any clothes at all... like a castaway muffler or an old hat.
  • Zombies are usually covered in blood.  Snowman zombies, having different circulatory systems and different eating habits, are covered in, well, snow.
  • Zombies look like they're sick.  You know - kind of bloated, with little body definition.
  • Zombies have dead expressions and vacant stares.  Their eyes might as well be two lumps of Kingsford charcoal.
  • Zombies crave brains.  What do you think these are carrying in their hands?
  • Zombies will get up after you run them over with your car.

 So what to do in case you meet up with a snowman zombie?

Best case scenario: Avoid the zombie in question. Failing that:

  • Some say decapitation works best and will stop a zombie in his tracks.
  • Cutting a zombie  into tiny pieces with some sort of chainsaw works, but in the case of snow and electrical chainsaws there can be electrocution problems.  A snow shovel should do the trick.
  •  Hairdryer.
In any event, exercise caution and stay as far from the zombie snowperson as possible.  The further you are, the less likely you are to have an arm or leg ripped off your body.

Zombies will lunge at you if they think they have an open shot at your brains.  And on that subject, it is best to keep your head and brains covered.

The zombie snowmen in these earrings will actually protect you.  You see, each one is already carrying a brain.  So they won't need yours.  If other zombie snowmen see them, they will think the brains are YOUR brains, and move on to someone else.

These protection zombie snowmen are available on etsy.  Can you afford to be without them?

What Are You Doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

Just quietly pondering the last year and listening to Diana Krall.  Enjoy...

"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve"

When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
And the couples we know are fondly kissing.
Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?

Maybe it's much too early in the game
Ooh, but I thought I'd ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's eve?
Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year's eve

Maybe I'm crazy to suppose
I'd ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Ooh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance:
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?
Happy New Year All.  May the year ahead be filled with love, peace, happiness, and BrightandShiny moments.

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Heard a Bird Sing

by Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember:
"We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,"
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

Spring butterflies here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thoughts on Winter Solstice

The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!

 All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

BrightandShinyThings for winter here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hippo Brains, or Yes, Virginia, There is a Hobbit

Scientists at the Natural History Museum believe that studies of ancient Madagascan hippos have led to a theory on the origins of the small brain of the 1-metre-tall human, known as the hobbit.
By examining the skulls of extinct Madagascan hippos, Museum scientists discovered that dwarfed mammals on islands evolved smaller brains in relation to their body size.

They now believe that Homo floresiensis may have had a tiny brain because of living on an island.  This belief is at the heart of the debate of the hobbit’s origins, whose remains were uncovered on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2003.

The team suggests that the hobbit became a dwarf after its Homo erectus ancestor became isolated on the large island of Flores many years ago.

‘The discovery of a small fossil human from the island of Flores with normal facial proportions but a brain the size of chimpanzee has baffled scientists,’ explained Natural History Museum palaeontologist, Dr Eleanor Weston, who led the research.

‘It could be that its skull is that of a dwarfed mammal living on an island. Looking at pygmy hippos in Madagascar, which possess exceptionally small brains for their size, suggests that the ‘hobbit’ was a dwarf resulting from its H. erectus ancestors being isolated on the island in the past.’

Madagascar has many diverse habitats and was once home to at least 3 species of hippo.

(these aren't them)

The team studied species of extinct Madagascan hippos and their mainland ancestor, the large common hippopotamus.

(this one's not really common ~ he's carved of amazonite)

One of the specimens used, from the Museum’s mammal collection, was a nearly 3000-year-old dwarf hippo skull belonging to the extinct Hippopotamus madagascariensis.

'We found that the brain sizes of extinct dwarf hippos were still up to 30% smaller than you would expect...' explains Dr. Weston. 'It may be advantageous to the survival of animals that become isolated on islands with unique environments, not only to become dwarfs but to reduce the size of their brain.'

 So apparently these charmed hippos are perfectly suited to live on a small island, preferably populated with beady vegetation.  You can find them here and here.

The entire article (without the CHARMing hippos, alas)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Visit from Saint Nicholas

    by Clement Clarke Moore
’T was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tuna flakes danced in their heads;

And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and Saint Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”