CLOSE

The Weekend Links: Saturday Edition

Tired of waking up in the same place every day? If you have a fair amount of disposable income (but not enough to, say, ACTUALLY travel somewhere else), you can buy a Winscape, which essentially changes your view to anything from the Golden Gate bridge to being underwater (the later of which would, I think, really freak me out!)
*
In honor of my friend Aaron's wedding (anyone else attending a wedding today?), here are some awe-inspiring wedding cakes.
*
`I haven't jumped on the train to Farmville yet, but whether you have or have not, one blogger's Weeklong Journey into Farmville is a fun read.
*
Love Pokemon? Becoming a Pokemaster takes time, patience, and money. But mostly money.
*
"They lack chlorophyll and do not photosynthesize but the mycotroph family of plants manages to somehow survive.  They may look like a something from another planet but they are very much of this earth.  Here, we take a look at these bizarre plants and their even stranger survival techniques."
*
A scene from the superhero retirement home.

Mr Ghaz brings us another fascinating post, this time on Natural Number Crunchers - essentially, brilliant mathematicians with an innate sense of numbers (which is apparently the exact opposite of the way my brain works!).
*
Gearing up to watch Saturday Night Live? Take a stroll down memory lane (or lame, in some cases) with this list of SNL's forays into film, from Best to Worst.
*
Ever wondered why the iPhone, in commercials and demonstrations, is always showing the time 9:42? The answer is not quite as mysterious as many geeks had hoped.
 *
This will keep you occupied for awhile (or not - let us know in the comments!) Click on the ball to change its color. Simple, right? Err ....
***
More links on the way tomorrow - send your internet finds and fancies to FlossyLinks@gmail.com!

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
iStock
iStock

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.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios