Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan. A Merry Christmas and
Happy New Year to everyone who speaks Mandarin. In Argentine
that would be Felices Pasquas Y Felices Ano Nuevo. Nearer Santa's
home at the North Pole, Eskimos say Jutdlime pivdluarit ukiortame
Is there really a Santa Claus? Silly question. It was resolved
back in 1897, when Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the editor of The
New York Sun wondering if her doubting friends were correct.
"Yes, Virginia," was the emphatic response, "there
is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity
and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to
your life its highest beauty and joy."
Are you aware that our North American Air Defense Command
has tracked Santa's path on radar for the past four decades?
NORAD's primary mission is to track aircraft and missiles. They
report any that are potentially hostile to the President of the
United States and Prime Minister of Canada. As such, all Christmas
sightings must be verified as to their authenticity. Two Canadian
jets are deployed to establish visual contact and verify that
the objects leaving the North Pole are indeed Santa, Dasher,
Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph.
NORAD started providing tracking data to the public in the
early 1950's, when a Colorado Springs store advertised a special
Santa "hotline" for kids and misprinted the number
to be the operations "hotline" of CONAD, the predecessor
of NORAD. Colonel Harry Shoup took the first Santa call and,
realizing what had happened, had his staff check the radars and
report Santa's current position to the kids calling in on Christmas
Eve. Since then, NORAD has provided updates to radio and TV stations
and now has a web page with information about Santa's whereabouts
in several languages.
NORAD also has the specifications on Santa's Sleigh. Designed
and built by K. Kringle & Elves, Inc., the Sleigh is 75 cc
(candy canes) or 150 lp (lollipops) long and 40 cc or 80 lp wide.
It takes off with a weight of 75,000 gd (gumdrops) and is propelled
by 9rp (reindeer power) consuming high octane organic fuels.
Emissions are strictly classified. With less than a millisecond
to deliver toys to each child in the world who believes in Santa,
NORAD analysts have concluded that the Sleigh somehow functions
in a different time and space continuum than what we experience.
Such Einsteinian operations require tremendous energy, which
is fueled by the 12 billion grams of protein from cookies and
milk provided at households around the world.
Do you know that we have been calling one of the reindeer
by the wrong name all these years? In an expose entitled "The
Donner Party's Over," it is revealed that the names were
first established in a poem by Clement C. Moore published in
the New York Troy Sentinel in 1823. The poem is the famous "A
Visit from Saint Nicholas" and clearly proclaims "Now
Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On Donder and Blitzen!
What happened to poor Donder? Well, the story actually starts
with Rudolph. The story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was
penned in 1939 by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery
Ward in Chicago who wanted a Christmas story they could give
away to their shoppers. May drew on the tale of the Ugly Duckling
and his own background as a child taunted for being shy, small
and slight. He took Denver Gillen from the art department and
went to the Lincoln Park Zoo to sketch some reindeer, with one
having the characteristic red nose added to fit the story. Wards
distributed 2.4 million copies in 1939 and later turned the copyright
over to May so he could pay the medical bills from his wife's
Meanwhile, Robert L. May's brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny
Marks, developed the lyrics and melody for a song version of
the story also called "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."
It was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949 and it became an instant
smash, selling 2 million copies that year alone. Only in the
song, the name of one of the reindeers changed from Donder to
Donner for reasons unknown. It's been speculated that it might
have happened because Blitzen is German for lightning and Donner
is German for thunder, although Donder is also Dutch for thunder.
Regardless, we're pretty much all programmed now to say "on
Donner and Blitzen."
Hope all your holiday stories have happy endings. Wishing
you and yours the best of the season...Pozdrevlyayu s prazdnikom
Rozhdestva is Novim Godom, Nollaig chridheil huibh, Sawadee pee
Mai, Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar!, Chung Mung
Giang Sinh, Buone Feste Natalizie, and Sinifesela Ukhisimusi
Omuhle Nonyaka Omusha Onempumelelo!