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30 Unusual Scholarships

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Scholarships and academic awards aren't just for the super intelligent and athletic anymore; now you just have to be left-handed. If you have the right characteristic, last name, or niche interest, you could cash in with one of these unusual scholarships. 

1. $1000 from Tall Clubs International for an essay about what being tall means.

2. Tuition at Loyola University Chicago for any Catholic with the last name Zolp. 

3. $1500 from Juniata College for being left-handed.

4. $1000 from the International Star Trek Fan Association for active members. 

5. $3000 from Duck Brand Duct Tape for wearing a prom dress or suit made from duct tape. 

6. $2500 from Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation for good quiz takers. 

7. Full tuition for 200 golf caddies from the Evans Scholars Foundation.

8. $10,000 from the Ayn Rand Institute for the best essay about Atlas Shrugged.

9. $200 to $1500 for winners of the Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest.

10. 45 percent of tuition from Wilson College for twins and triplets enrolled together. 

11. $750 from the National Beef Ambassador Program for speaking on behalf of the beef industry.

12. $5000 from the Vegetarian Resource Group for actively promoting vegetarianism.

13. Tuition, books, and supplies from American Welding Society for future welders.

14. $4000 from Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry for students looking to work with paper.

15. $10,000 for spreading the word about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

16. $10,000 from Random House for Dr. Seuss fans.

17. Hiram College Hal Reichle Memorial Scholarship rewards students for random acts of kindness. 

18. $10,000 for winners of the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest.

19. $5000 from American Association of Candy Technologists for future bakers.

20. $2000 for fire safety experts from the American Fire Sprinkler Association. 

21. Tuition for "mibsters," or marble shooters who win the National Marbles Tournament.

22. $1000 from the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance for the corpulent activists.

23. $10,000 from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for pursuing a career in television. 

24. $500 from the Northern Tier Hardwood Association for students majoring in something forest related.

25. Tuition and books from Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation for students studying something related to vacuum coating technology.

26. $2000 for winners of the National Make It Yourself with Wool Competition

27. $30,000 and the honor of living in J.D. Salinger's old dorm room from Ursinus College.

28. $1000 to study puppetry from UNIMA.

29. $1000 from the U.S. Bowling Congress Scholarship for high school bowlers. 

30. San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo Scholarship is for participants in the San Angelo Stock Show.

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holidays
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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