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The Weekend Links

I'm headed into the boonies this week for a much needed respite, and since I won't have internet access I've compiled a list of some of my favorites from Weekend Links past. Revisit these (or experience them for the first time) and remember to send me more! FlossyLinks@gmail.com.

But before we get to the greatest hits, here's a new video from Michael at The Daily Tube, home of the best new videos on the internet...

"¢ You might have heard of Project Greenlight, but what about a competition for the WORST movie ideas? It's called Project Redlight, and was judged by Harvey Weinstein himself, who chose an all-out winner from a competitive field of ten. I fear the one with Rob Schneider might actually get produced.

"¢ If only the Oxford English Dictionary (or the Urban Dictionary, for that matter) had celebrity pictures to match up with the definitions ... luckily, this site does! Learn new words alongside celebrity gossip. Now that's hot.

"¢ Anyone who's worked in an office or lived in a condo/co-op knows the plague of passive-aggressive notes and memos that occasionally paper one's desk or community bulletin board. This site makes it an art.

"¢ My friends and I have a theory that Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Superbad) doesn't act, he just shows up places as himself - a sweet, awkward kid. Check out this hilarious interview video and judge for yourself (side note: Is there a better chat-show name than "Between Two Ferns"?).

"¢ If only I had been so talented ... an animated wall drawing that is guaranteed to impress.

Five Great Auditory Illusions. The Barbershop one pretty thoroughly spooked me.

"¢ Jan has sent in these pictures of money being folded in ways that look like celebrities. Pretty darn cool.

"¢ Thanks to my friend Thomas who sent in the clip above with the instructions to wait until the :47 second mark. If you do, you will be rewarded tenfold. I KNEW I should have stuck with those piano lessons ...

FreeRice.com allows you to improve your vocab while giving back. Not bad, right? I got to level 46 ... can anyone beat me without using a dictionary?

"¢ Looking to slip away into slumber to some soft, soulful tunes? This site offers free, downloadable sleepytime tunes for your listening pleasure. Also, check out Rockabye Baby Music, where rock songs are turned into sweet lullabies.

"¢ Reader Jane sent a link to an incredible product. As she put it, "it is amazing what Amazon.com will sell. If you got the $$ they have the item." Additionally, the user reviews makes this a classic.

"¢ This story from The Sun about a menacing gnome will scare you or excite you, but either way, seriously, what IS it?

"¢ Also from Jan, a list of the Most Unusual Books of the World. Pop-ups aren't just for kids!

"¢ And finally, here are a few links to our readers' blogs. Considering moving to New Zealand? Visit Dawn & Darren's site. Marie has compiled some time-wasting links of her own. Celeste's husband curates two blogs: Mechazilla.com (collectibles) and Fandomania (geek culture).

[Last Weekend's Links]

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Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
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Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

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What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
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Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

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