Bo$$ Box

So this mysterious box showed up at the office. It's that time of year when networks and studios send out all their teasers, trying to get people like me to write about the new shows hitting the air this Fall season. The bigger the show, the bigger the budget, the more spent on marketing the show. This box represents the most money I've ever seen put into a new show.

So what's the show? Well, it's called Boss and it premieres on Starz later this month, staring Kelsey Grammer. I haven't watched the pilot yet, but I wanted to show you guys what's in this box, because if the show is anywhere near as formidable as the marketing muscle behind it, we're in for a treat. I'm also going to give you a chance to win this box, which we'll give away to one lucky winner who we'll pluck at random from the comments below. I'll tell you how you can win it at the end of the post. But first, let's go through the box.

Wait, before we get into the box, just look how much money they spent mailing the thing to me! Nearly $6! And you know dozens, if not 100s of these were mailed out.

Opening the box, we can almost smell the money as you first see a beautiful, hard-cover book!

What's under the book? Looks like a DVD, but looks can be deceptive sometimes.

The book turns out to be a full-color intro to the cast, crew, story, settings and production company (Lionsgate).

Inside the DVD case, we do, indeed, find a DVD containing the pilot episode. But there's more! A plastic press card.

What does the press card do? Well, after a few minutes of futzing around with it, I figured out that it's actually a digital press card with a secret USB drive that flips up if pressed just so. On the drive? Sure. All the marketing materials again, this time, presented digitally!

All-in-all, I'd say the mysterious box lives up to the setup. Whether or not the show lives up to the hype, that's not for me to decide. This post is more about giving you guys an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes. And, as promised, the chance to win the contents! So how do you win? Simple: Just leave a comment telling us why you deserve it. In a couple days, we'll pluck one comment at random and e-mail you for your snail mail address. Good luck _flossers and good luck Starz, with your new, big-budget show.

Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album

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.

What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?

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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