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8 Reasons to Love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

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Kara's awesome post on A Charlie Brown Christmas inspired me to write about my favorite Christmas movies. We've already watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation three times this year, and we'll probably watch it again during at least one of our family Christmases. I love it so much I made Christmas cards based on some of my favorite quotes. Well, I want to share the love with you guys. Here are a few things you probably never knew about Clark and the Griswold family.

1. The Capra family must have Christmas in their genes - the assistant director of Christmas Vacation, Frank Capra III, is the grandson of the legendary Frank Capra, who directed It's a Wonderful Life. The part where Clark "fixes" the newel post by sawing it off with a chainsaw is an homage to his grandfather's movie "“ the newel post at the Bailey's house was also loose. Also, Russ is watching It's a Wonderful Life on TV when his grandparents arrive.

2. In the scene where Clark has his total breakdown after receiving his "Christmas bonus" "“ membership in a jelly of the month club "“ he rattles off a jawbreaking, tongue-twister of an insult about his boss. The crew had placed cue cards all over the set behind the camera so Chevy Chase could read the whole insult without stopping. In its entirety, the quote is:

"Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, d**kless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey s**t he is. Hallelujah. Holy s**t. Where's the Tylenol?"

eddie.jpg3. You gotta love/hate cousin Eddie. He's just so deliciously white trash. Eddie's "dress clothes" "“ a white sweater with a black dickey, with the dickey very obviously showing through the sweater "“ was Randy Quaid's wife's idea. A genius detail. Cousin Eddie went on to star in his own made-for-TV Christmas Vacation - Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. Haven't seen it; heard it was awful. I have to admit, the beauty of Cousin Eddie is that you get him in little doses. A whole Cousin Eddie movie would be a bit much, I think.

4. I can always relate to the scene where the two grandpas are asleep in the armchairs while the Christmas parade is on T.V. in the background. This always happens at our Thanksgivings and Christmases "“ grandpas, dads, uncles. What makes the scene even funnier is that the actors who played the grandpas were really both asleep.

bethany.jpg5. Aunt Bethany ("Is your house on fire, Clark?") is played by Mae Questel, the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. Christmas Vacation was her last movie.

6. Being from the Midwest, Friends and I always laugh when we see the Griswolds driving to get their Christmas tree at the beginning of the movie. Check out the large mountains in the scenery. I don't know about you guys, but I've never seen mountains like that in these parts. Turns out this part of the film was shot in Breckenridge, Colorado, which makes much more sense. The house scenes were shot on set in California. This is evident during outdoor scenes "“ you never see any of the cast's breath when they are standing around waiting for Clark to show them the lights on the house. There are also a few shots where you see non-evergreen trees with full leaves and no snow on them.

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7. Pretty much the whole movie is quotable, but among the ones that get used regularly around our house are:

"Don't throw me down, Clark." - Aunt Bethany
"I don't KNOW, Margo." - Todd the yuppie next-door neighbor
"SQUIRREL!!!" - Clark Sr.
"Lot of sap in here. Looks great"¦ little full. Lotta sap." "“ Clark
"They want you to say grace. THE BLESSING." - Uncle Lewis (complete with finger gesturing, of course).

8. The kids in Christmas Vacation (Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki) are the third set of kids. The first Audrey and Rusty were Dana Barron and Anthony Michael Hall in Vacation, the second are Dana Hill and Jason Lively. When Vegas Vacation was released n 1997, the kids were played by Marisol Nichols and Ethan Embry.

Do you love Christmas Vacation or hate it? What's your favorite part?

[Image credit: Bubba.org]

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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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