The Missing Links: Things MJ Left Behind

Death By Vegetable
All that talk about vegetables being good for you and helping you fend off death may be true. But sometimes they can become the face of death itself - when they’re carved into intricate skulls.


I Love When People Respond to Fan Mail
A collection of brilliant and inspiring letters from famous authors to their young fans.


RIP Lonesome George (And the Entire Chelonoidis Nigra Abingdoni Species)
The last remaining tortoise of his kind, Lonesome George was estimated to be 100 years old.

Speaking of turtles, here is a surprisingly entertaining video of a turtle eating a raspberry.


And Speaking of Things Dying Out...
Google wants to save the dying languages of the world.


Learn Something New Every Day
How to conduct a strip-search.


What the King Left Behind
The King of Pop died three years ago today. Here are a just a few of the notable things the world has to remember him with.

And Entertainment Weekly offers up their list of his 10 best videos of all time.


The New Election Year Wedge Issue: Cranberries
Your vote in this November’s election will likely come down to which side of the Cranberry/Anti-Cranberry aisle you reside on. Unfortunately for the people in the cranberry industry, they have a detractor in a very high place.

The brilliant comedian Brian Regan isn’t so much against cranberries. He just wonders why they’re so omnipresent:


What Is “Please Get Well”?
I wanted to make sure to mention everyone’s favorite game show host, Alex Trebek, who suffered a heart attack over the weekend. Why is he everyone’s favorite? This list should explain it well.

As for Mr Trebek himself, he should take some time, relax and laugh a lot. After all, laughter is the best medicine. This comprehensive history of the SNL Jeopardy! sketches can get him started.

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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