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November 27, 2007

The 12 Days of Kitschmas, 2007
Posted by Teresa at 04:44 PM *

This is now the Third Revised & Expanded Version of this post, and with any luck the last one, assuming that Ship of Fools stops moving stuff around.

Setup: I’m a great fan of Ship of Fools’ Gadgets for God section. Kitschmas is one of its regular year-round categories, but most years they also compile special Christmastime lists.

The Kitschmas 2005 list was a doozy. I’m going to start there because it contains my favorite ghastly Xmas artifact: the Flogging Jesus Christmas lights. They inspire that dizzy sense of wonder I get when I try to imagine how someone could possibly have thought this thing was a good idea. Also, the lights are animated, and have a sound track.

That’s #1 on the 2005 list. The other items are the: 2. Mosque Clock; 3. Narnia Bookends; 4. Crucifix Mirror; 5. Jesus Poker Chips; 6. iBelieve Lanyard; 7. Miracle Wheel; 8. Nativity Kitchen Timer; 9. Cross-Shaped Playing Cards; 10. Wait Wear; 11. Mood Cross; 12. Jesus Beaded Curtain; and 13. “Heroes of Atheism” Darwin Mug.

Moving on to the equally classic 2003 Kitschmas list, we have the: 1. Fairy Jesus Tree Topper; 2. Crucifix Cellphone Covers; 3. Bobblehead Virgin Mary; 4. Lord of the Kings Jigsaw Puzzle; 5. Blessed Teresa Figurine; 6. Jesus Ashtray; 7. Inflatable Flying Cathedral; 8. Glow Grave; 9. Well Done, Dude!” Statuette; 10. Nail Ornament; 11. Frisbee of Faith; and the 12. “Jesus Saves” model billboard.

From the 2000 Kitschmas list, there’s the: 1. Last Supper Musical Pillow; 2. “Birth of Christ” Tribute Guitar ; 3. Buddy Christ Dashboard Ornament; 4. Communion Refrigerator Magnets; 5. Bible Message Camera; 6. Jesus & Mary Switchplates; 7. Light-Up Musical Jesus; 8. Photo Face Angel Doll; 9. “Wash Away Your Sins” Soap; 10. Mosque Clock; 11. Devotional Candles; and the 12. Granite Ten Commandments.

And from the 1999 Kitschmas list, there’s the: 1. Archbishop (Carey) Bear; 2. Worshipping Santa; 3. Virgin Mary Mix’n’Match Fridge Magnet Set; 4. Mother Teresa Barometer; 5. “Ye Little Angel” Dog Wings; 6. The Punching Amish; 7. “Jesus Christ in Majesty” Hearth Rug; 8. The Full Armor of God Playset; 9. Moses Nutcracker; 10. Jesus Snowstorm; 11. Mother Teresa Singing Doll; and a 12. Twelve Apostles Beer Mug.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

This brings us to the joyful and triumphant Kitschmas 2007 list. This year, lucky us, we get the:

1. St. Sebastian Pincushion. I’ve been faunching after one of these.

2. Blessed Virgin Mary USB Drive: she only holds 512Mb, but when you plug her in, her red LED heart starts beating. She also has a halo inscribed with the deeply traditional prayer, “O Maria keep my data safe.”

3. Huggable Urns. Why store your loved ones’ ashes in an overpriced bit of crockery when you can tuck them inside a big squooshy huggable plush bear?

4. Coffin Glamour Calendar. The Romans have a way with these things.

5. Vatican: The Board Game. Start as a cardinal. Deal with challenges and intrigues. Become papabile.

6. Holy Ghost Glossolaliac Tees.

7. Christ on a Bike—which, I’ll note, is part of a product line that I Particled on 17 November of this year.

8. Pope’s Cologne, from Pio Nonno’s own private recipe. Says Ship of Fools: ‘Which of us, hand on heart, has never thought, “I wish I could smell like a Pope”?’

9. Jerusalem Compass, guaranteed to always point you-know-where.

10. Hip Flask Bible, for those especially dreary meetings.

11. Holy Toast. Says Ship of Fools: ‘as the Revised Screwed Up Version puts it: “On the night he was betrayed he took bread, popped it in the toaster and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take. Eat. This is my mother…”’

12. Thongs of Praise: holy images, naughty underwear.

13. Walled Nativity, a didactic spoilsport of a creche set.

Yes, Virginia: someone has to have thought each and every one of these things was a good idea. Fortunately, it’s not the same someone in every case, or we’d have to kill him.

Some last things to be remembered: Fun with Ian Hislop: a 2002 news quiz from Have I Got News for You, featuring three items from the SoF 2002 Kitschmas list. Second, an essay: The Unbearable Kitschness of Christmas, in which Rev. Dr Giles Fraser, vicar of Putney and lecturer in philosophy at Wadham College, Oxford, laments that modern Christmases aren’t nearly as materialistic as they should be.

Comments on The 12 Days of Kitschmas, 2007:
#1 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 05:45 PM:

Omigod omigod omigod. The Flogging Lights are the most astonishing thing I've seen in a year. I think my head is exploding. And it so clarifies my mind about the seeming "torture okay" and "We are a Christian Nation" paradox.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 05:47 PM:

Ye gods and small fishes. The 'Flogging Jesus' is unspeakably awful, but the 'mosque clock' is even worse.

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 05:53 PM:

Is that current? The iBelieve (which I'd seen before) is an add-on for a model of iPod Shuffle which Apple stopped making in late 2006.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 05:54 PM:

I lost it at the poker chips. "Jesus went ALL IN for you..."

#5 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Kitsch-ish music: I bought a few dollar-store Christmas music CDs for the company holiday party. On request of the employee activity committee, I looked for ones that had instrumental versions of "holiday" music, as opposed to more religious themes.

The music on one of the CDs was bad beyond belief. It appears to have been played on a Casio keyboard. Not a good one . . . maybe one of the really cheap ones that runs on AA batteries and turns up at Goodwill a few months after disappointing some kid who really wanted a Wii.

The pacing is slow, the rhythm tracks ponderous; I can picture some hack churning the tracks out in an afternoon using borrowed sheet music.

Would I get in trouble if I posted a few digitized samples? Even a few seconds of a track would be enough to make you cringe.

#6 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 06:16 PM:

The Dave Barry Gift Guide, a few years back, showcased a lovely line of little statuettes depicting Jesus playing sports with children: .

Several years ago, my sister and her best friend were looking for a really good gag gift for the latter's church gift exchange. We repaired to San Jose's Capitol Flea Market, where we found... pardon me while I try to summon up the words to describe this. *Ooooommmmmmmm*
Okay. Imagine a large-ish portrait of Jesus, the kind where he is pulling his robe to one side and solemnly pointing at his Immaculate Heart. Now imagine that the portrait is rendered in various shades of iridescent and/or glitter-coated plastic. For the crowning touch, there are LEDs: white ones radiating out from his head, a cluster of red ones placed in his heart. The LEDs light up in sequence, so that the halo appears to radiate and the heart appears to throb.

It was a thing of beauty, in its trancendent awfulness. Ghod knows what the eventual recipient made of it, but its loss has haunted my family ever since.

#7 ::: Piscusfiche ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Sigh. This reminds me of my mother, who one year, purchased with a Christmas bonus, a half-size light-up nativity that she put outside our house every year for the next seven or eight subsequent years. The workmanship on these things was hideous, and personally, I was cringing in artistic embarrassment. I think my siblings and I often pondered kidnapping Baby Jesus. Then one year, Joseph malfunctioned and the Holy Family was permanently retired to the garage. Hallelujah!

#8 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 06:52 PM:

Then one year, Joseph malfunctioned and the Holy Family was permanently retired to the garage.

It's the robot Nativity!

Or should that be: "Then one year, Mary malfunctioned..."

#9 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 07:11 PM:

Did you notice the soundtrack with the flogging lights? Priceless.

#10 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 07:13 PM:

Hmm...I thought the iBelieve iPod lanyard was a concept piece and not widely available, so I went off searching for it. Everything I can find points to its 'official site,', which is a decidedly dead link. I guess it's a concept piece now, anyway.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 07:42 PM:

No Nativity under our Tree. For one thing, our youngest dog would probably abscond with some of the elements. It just wouldn't do to find Baby Jesus with his head severed form his body. (Last night, after I took our canines for their last relief of the evening, I noticed something on the living-room carpet. I eventually figured out it was a barfed-out chewed-up mouse because there was one eye and a tail sticking out of the mass.)

#12 ::: gramina ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 08:10 PM:

Oh my -- not only is the Kitschmas article wonderful in a truly appalling way, but I had never seen this article from Ship of Fools either, and it's wonderful. So thank you for leading me to a link that led me to it!

#13 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 08:25 PM:

My sister and I realized some time ago that both of us played with the nativity... and both of us came up with the same plot. At some point, my family ended up with two: the nice one with a few animals and a broken-winged angel (not me, that was Dad) and a little stable, and the kid one with three blond cherubs and a little wrapped-up cutesy Jesus.
So the little kid angels, Peter, Paul, and Mary, were practicing Christmas, and they decided to borrow the real Jesus. Except then they lost him, and so they replaced him with the practice Jesus while they went to look.
There was also a True Way to set up the good nativity so everything fit and was looking at the baby. Beyond that, the only effect of having a nativity to play with seems to be that for years, I thought Gabriel was a female name. Angels are girls, right?

#15 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 08:47 PM:

When I looked earlier I saw the same items everyone else is commenting on (flogging lights, the iBelieve, etc.), but there's an entirely new list up now, leading off with a St. Sebastian Pincushion.

#16 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 08:57 PM:

I missed getting to see flogged Jesus on SoF, so I went and found him. Yes, Serge. I've found Jesus.

Here's Jesus getting flogged*, in lights.

*Shouldn't that be an Easter light display?

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 09:09 PM:

Tania @ 16... A flogged Jesus? This is starting to sound like "Blackadder's Christmas Carol".

#18 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Dan Blum #15: By the time I looked, it had changed to the second set. I looked at it and thought, "Huh. Well, Teresa can't imagine why anyone would think a St. Sebastian pincussion is a good idea, but I think it's a great one!"

#19 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 10:04 PM:

Several days ago, a friend alerted me to this at Oriental Trading (which has lots of other kitschy things).

I'm still wordless.

#20 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2007, 10:33 PM:

Glinda, that was exactly the item I was boggled by when we got the Oriental Trading catalogue.
The whole section of duckies is a garden of delights.
These ornaments also confused me.

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:07 AM:

Ethan, I've been faunching over those St. Sebastian pincushions for years, but I only ever see them at Christmas, when I'm not shopping for myself.

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:13 AM:

Glinda, you couldn't have warned me before I looked at that?

I know Oriental Trading of old, and they've always been weird. A few years back their catalogue was full of happy anthropomorphized s'mores, pleading to be eaten.

Tell me: what do these look like to you?

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:15 AM:

Oh, and Barbara, those ornaments confused me too. Why would snowmen ever be wearing jungle camo?

#24 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:15 AM:

I don't think you'd want peppermint there.

#25 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:26 AM:

You never know, Clifton. It might be tingly. About those: "faith-based stocking" is my new favorite euphemism for my rectum. Now I just need the right conversation.

#26 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:31 AM:

re 22 & 24: NSFW and maybe not appropriate for you; use your own judgment: candy cane toy for big girls and boys

#27 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:40 AM:

The Cat Nativity.

One envisions an early version of Kittenwar: Which is cuter? Baby Jesus, or a sleeping kitten?

(Not the same one Cat Nativity shown in the Bad Nativity Cavalcade, linked uptopic.)

And, Teresa, the Oriental Trading catalogues are frequently referred to by at least one postal employee as the "Tons O' Crap" catalogues.

#28 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:46 AM:

The pirate stuff at Oriental Trading borders on the excessive.

It's a strange mix of dirt-cheap and somewhat-substantial. You can buy a Pirate Bar, for example, that appears to be made of actual wood.

#29 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 01:52 AM:

Teresa, according to the website the snowmen are 'ready for battle' though I think they're headed for the wrong theatre of operations. But maybe they go with this ornament?

#30 ::: sharon ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 02:54 AM:

I think you'll find even more Kitchmasness here:*/

#31 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 02:59 AM:

Well, I think the nativity rubber duckies are hysterical, and I'm going to get some, because I can think of some people for whom they're just perfect (myself included). As long as no one is drinking coffee in front of a computer. Also some of these to go with the nativity duckies.

Some things are so bad they're good.

#32 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 03:03 AM:

Playing cards to go with the poker chips abi admired?

#33 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:33 AM:

Surely Jesus being flogged is an Easter decoration, not Christmas?

I want that duck nativity, but I think my mother is going to come over all "blasphemy!" when she visits for Christmas.

I love horrible Christmas music. I lost all of my horrible mp3s recently, but I have one tattered CD with things like dogs barking Jingle Bells.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:41 AM:

flowry tops... Surely Jesus being flogged is an Easter decoration, not Christmas?

Arwe you trying to tie this thread in with the Gibson one?

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:45 AM:

Teresa @ 23... Why would snowmen ever be wearing jungle camo?

I'm melting, I'm melting! What a world!

#36 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:26 AM:

In the update referring to the 2005 list, all the links (including the "2005 Kitchmas list") except the "crucifix mirror" and the "mood cross" are broken.

At least for me.

#37 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 08:05 AM:

The huggable urn is probably the thing that had me boggling the hardest... but then it occurred to me: why keep a loved one's ashes in it? Now you can keep your friends close and your enemies closer even after those enemies are dead!

(Isaac Newton would have loved it, I reckon.)

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 08:11 AM:

Clifton, Gursky, Patrick's now reading the thread because he heard me laughing so hard.

Todd, there are lots of good things you can do with glass, but I don't think that's one of them.

Bruce, I think I could have forgiven the Cat Nativity if they didn't have the bleeping Little Drummer Cat as part of the set. It's like there's a curse on Christmas: You Can Never Escape the Song about the Little Drummer Boy. (Then, I barfed on him, pa-rum-pa-pa-pum, him and his drum ...)

Barbara, what else could go with that ornament? ... The year of the s'mores, they also had snowmen and santas mixed up with American flags. They're nothing if not syncretistic.

Sharon, thanks for the Wayback links. Yesterday I was trying to get Wayback to give me the ghosts of Kitschmases past, but for some reason it wasn't working.

Tracie, I'm not sure those ducks make the trek all the way back to good. Can you look at the squadron of angel ducks without hearing them quacking "Angels We Have Heard on High"? I can't.

Tania, those cards are just evil. I'm sure they're meant to go in someone's faith-based stocking.

Juli, it's broken again? Bugger! Why can't those people ever hold still?

#39 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 08:15 AM:

One local artist here made penguin nativities last year. They were expensive, but adorable, as was the sign, which warned that the artist might suffer penguin burnout.
Duckie nativity is cute and good, not least because you can probably get similarly-sized other ducks like the pirate, the devil, the biker, and stick them in.

#40 ::: Phil Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:06 AM:

For those of you who don't feel that Vatican: The Board Game goes far enough, may I humbly suggest Mystery of the Abbey, which is basically hyper-Clue meets Name of the Rose. One of your fellow monks has been brutally murdered and each of the players must search the abbey for clues as to who the killer is. However, there are a lot of twists on the basic Clue theme, including special cards, a point system, and the ability to take a vow of silence when being grilled by your fellows. The game even comes with a tiny bell to call everyone to mass. It's a terrific game.

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:14 AM:

Phil Lee @ 40... "It was murder!" Brother Cadfael said.

#43 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:46 AM:

What does it say that I can think of several people in my life who *need* not only "Vatican: The Game" but the Nativity Rubber Duckies?!?

#44 ::: Chris Gerrib ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:01 AM:

Actually, that coffin calendar just might be appropriate for the Goth on your Christmas list...

#45 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Phil Lee @40:

I should note that Mystery of the Abbey will not appeal to everyone. To enjoy it, you have to like deduction games but also be able to tolerate a fair amount of chaos, and be prepared to act on hunches - a lot of people prefer more straightforward deduction games. I like it, but I have catholic tastes in board games.

#46 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Glinda, good golly, what a find. I'm going shopping for everyone I want to tick off this holidays...

Teresa, you hate the little drummer schmuck too? It's my least favorite Christmas song.

As an aside, does anyone know of a recording of/have the lyrics to The Twelve Days After Christmas? The one that goes ...and with a single cartridge I shot that blasted partridge my true love, my true love, my true loooove gave to me? It's my favorite sort of Christmas music.

#47 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Emma @46

Here are the lyrics.

I don't have a recording, but if you can access my brain, you can very clearly hear my sister's sixth grade choir singing it.

#48 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:40 AM:

IMO, nothing says Kitschmas like Precious Moments(TM) figurines. And I especially wonder what anyone was thinking when they designed this one.

#49 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Dan Blum #45:

Aren't you missing a capital "C"?

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:41 AM:

flowery 33: I have one tattered CD with things like dogs barking Jingle Bells.

Things like dogs? I pictured some kind of Lovecraftian horror, squamous, rugose, and only vaguely canine, in the split second between my first and second parse of that sentence. English needs parentheses (in the sense that computer languages or mathematical expressions have them, not in the conventional use (like this (ooo, a self-referential nesting!)), which English already has).

Dan 45: I hate you.* I didn't see that coming at all.

*In this situation this means "Good one!"

#51 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:42 AM:

Emma @46

I sang this piece as a member of the "Nautical Notes", the a capella sub-group of the Navy Choristers at the US Naval War College in Newport Rhode Island lo these many moons ago.

The sheet music is available here.

#52 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Duncan @ 51

Apologies for the self-referential posting.
A quick Google yielded several sources for recordings of The Twelve Days After Christmas.
This one sounds the best to my jaded ears.

#53 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 03:39 PM:

Thanks, everyone! I've been telling people about this song forever and I get the most...disbelieving stares!

#54 ::: Adina ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 04:02 PM:

I found the 2005 list at

Also, in the second paragraph under "Update continued", the link for the 2005 Kitschmas list points back to this Making Light item.

#55 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 04:58 PM:

Serge @ 34:
I've been looking and looking, and I don't see the connection, but thanks for the impetus to go back and read the Gibson thread some more.

Xopher @ 50:
You know, I think I might have taken a couple of runs at that sentence, feeling that somehow, things just weren't coming across right. But you know what I mean. And I love your Lovecraftian dog-like things, what songs do you suppose they'd bark at Christmas time? (Wanted also to note that I very much liked your explanation of the Rede back over on the Gibson thread - easily the clearest and most sensible one I've heard).

#56 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Teresa, hurray! It's now my goal to post a joke bad/good enough to give you an attack of cataplexy. It won't be easy, but we all need ambitions in life.

#57 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 05:51 PM:

Clifton, I'm sure you've done it more than once. Luckily, I'm usually sitting down when I read Making Light.

#58 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:26 PM:

flowery tops @ 55... Sorry for the lack of clarity. I was only referring to Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, which I understand focused a wee bit much in flogging and nailing and that sort of stuff.

#59 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:31 PM:

flowery 55: Oh, I knew what you meant on the second parse. But the image generated by my first (mistaken) parse was too good not to share. I suspect my rugose caninoids would bark 12-tone rows, or perhaps that "Kidnap the Sandy Claws" song from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

As for the Rede—thank you. I've been thinking about that for a loooong time.

#60 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Teresa @ 22:

Sorry, and you're right, I should have posted a bit more in the way of warnings. That entire site is... [failure of words again]; I can only browse for a few minutes before having to go find something saner. :)

And there was an honest-to-ghods coffee-onto-keyboard moment from the link you posted. Makes me wonder about the people who think these things up...

Tracie @ 31:

I'm considering getting a set myself - I know someone who needs that. Really. And a couple of angels should be hovering over a nativity scene, right?

#61 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:39 PM:

flowery tops, I'll try to make a connection.

Perhaps a good dose of strong liquor is required to make it through Kitschmas without feeling the need to flagellate oneself, in penance, afterwards?

"I didn't really want the ducky nativity, that was the booze talking!"

#62 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 06:48 PM:

Okay, this catalog is pernicious. Also, I think I've got you all beat: the Vaca de la Independencia.

Human civilization has, until this moment, labored unawares to produce this object.

Other inexplicable cows that are not quite as inexplicable as the Vaca de la Independencia:

The Mooflower, Aztec Cow, Cowmooflage, A Cow with a Fish Stuck on Her Arse (title mine), French Moodle, Picowsso, Mooooonwalk, Front Range, Cowbot, Bumblebee Cow, Cowctus, Dia de las Vacas Muertes, Glinda Cow, Gladiator Cow, The Beast of Light, and Submooooorine.

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:00 PM:

Tania @ 61... Perhaps a good dose of strong liquor is required to make it through Kitschmas without feeling the need to flagellate oneself, in penance, afterwards? "I didn't really want the ducky nativity, that was the booze talking!"

First, flagellation, then the flagon?

#64 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:05 PM:

Lifting the flagon until the spirits flag.

#65 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:06 PM:

Teresa (62): I very nearly bought Mooooonwalk when I saw it in a store a few years ago.

Add me to the list of people who may need the ducky Nativity. Of course, I have no taste; my current Nativity is a teddy bear one.

#66 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:10 PM:

TNH - OMG!!! It's a yellow submoooooorine.

That makes me want to buy it. Almost. However, this could be the booze talking.

#67 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Teresa @ 62 FTW with the Glinda cow. Thank ghods none of my friends have the spare cash, or it would probably be inflicted on me.

(No, I do not collect OZ-related items, especially not Glinda the Good things. Never have, never will, please ghods.)

#68 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:16 PM:

What I would like to know is how Pio Nonno got to be a perfumer? I thought he spent his time switching from left (Italy would be a good idea) to right (the modern world sucks).

At least there are no Padre, pardon me, Saint Pio dolls.

#69 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:22 PM:

You know, I remember seeing some of these cows around Chicago a few years ago.

Yup - Cow Parade.

#70 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 07:41 PM:

Tania #69: We had that in Atlanta in 2003.

#71 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 08:13 PM:

The 2005 list is now at:

#72 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 08:56 PM:

That's not a fish stuck on that cow, whatever it is.

Maybe that's one of Xopher's "things like dogs" pausing to eat a hearty holiday appetizer, before another rousing chorus of Jingle Bells?

I think I need a stiff drink and I've only looked at a few of those cows so far.

#73 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:12 PM:

You can get the US Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus recording of The Twelve Days After Christmas here.

I've in the middle of adding yet more holiday music to my giant book of (mostly) Christmas music in preparation for a party tomorrow, where I will be expected to play the piano as well as my harp. This being a university town, it will be a party full of earnestly politically correct people with politically correct casseroles (as well as mine), so I've also included The (Politically Correct) Twelve Days of Christmas in case someone else has a sense of humor.

I've ordered those duckies!

#74 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:17 PM:

flowery tops and Xopher (well, and anyone else, really):

In the squamous and rugose holiday vein, this year's Ars Technica Holiday Gift Guide includes "An Even Scarier Solstice" by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

I personally think the original ("A Very Scary Solstice") looks better though. I mean, how can you pass up classics like "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-Men," "Awake Ye Scary Old Ones," "Freddy the Red-Brained Mi-Go," or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Yog Sothoth"?

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:28 PM:

I wonder if Mary Dell could photoshop Lovecraft's Cowthulhu?

#76 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:31 PM:

Serge #75: I bet by the time I post this comment she already has.

#77 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 09:55 PM:

They had a cow parade in Plainview, TX, some years back. I understand the library has 'Mooey Decimal System' in their permanent collection.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:11 PM:

ethan @ 76... Do you think that Mary's photoshop-fu can recreate Lovecraft's "Creamquest of Unknown Kowdath"?

#79 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:27 PM:

You have heard there is a movie about Thomas Kinkade (titled Home for Christmas) out this holiday season?

#80 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 10:58 PM:

Rob, see me putting my finger down my throat in the graceful Elvish gesture of farewell.

#81 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:35 PM:

I...I...great googly-moogly! The creativity and resourcefulness of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me!

Nor, sadly, does the neverending truth of H.L. Mencken's comment about the American public...

#82 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:39 PM:

Serge #78: Or "The Cattle out of Space," maybe?

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2007, 11:44 PM:

ethan @ 82... Don't you mean "The Cow-udder Out of Space"?

#84 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 01:35 AM:

On the subject of Christmas songs, somewhere I think I have a tape of my friend Meredith singing her composition You'll Be Dead For Christmas:

You'll be dead for Christmas
Just you wait and see
That's the special gift you're going to get for leaving me.

I need to ask her if she's put that online anywhere.

#85 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 02:08 AM:

Teresa@38 Todd, there are lots of good things you can do with glass, but I don't think that's one of them.

Safer to stick to even-more-NSFW silicone.

#86 ::: Cassie ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 05:07 AM:

The Jerusalem compass makes me think of nothing more than Stardust's Jerusalem candle -- the actual function is rather boring, but somewhere in the story that goes on always in my head, the man at the head of the beggars' cavalry just pulled his Jerusalem compass from his pocket, caused everyone to wheel around and told them to fend off the nightmares coming from the sky.

#87 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 05:49 AM:

Cassie@86: Wasn't that a Babylon candle? As in, "How many miles to Babylon? Threescore miles and ten...."

#88 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 08:41 AM:

Trying to think of themes for Christmas cards this year, Sasha suggested Moses making a snowman (with the Children of Israel making a snow calf in the background) and about to put a rose (instead of a carrot) as a nose. When I rejected this as clever but requiring more artistic ability than I have, he suggested a Nativity with a stocking hung on the end of the crib and Santa putting coal into it.

I did not think I would encounter any worse suggestions for the festive season, but Making Light managed to surprise me.

I liked the essay. Giles Fraser rocks.

#89 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Rob Rusick @ 79

No, I hadn't heard about the Kinkade movie. Now can I run screaming from the horror?

#90 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:37 AM:

Adrian Smith @ 85

I thought the whole point of silicone was that it wouldn't stick.

#91 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:49 AM:

And then there is always the Miami rooster walk. Scroll down a little to see one representative specimen.

#92 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 10:06 AM:

Just for the fun of it: the Library Dairy
Dairy Potter
Mooey Decimal System
(from Mindy's blog)

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 10:09 AM:

P J... Wasn't Vincent Price in "Dairy of a Mad man"?

#94 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 10:13 AM:

While looking for the source of "A Cat's Christmas", a "12-days" card I plan to give my neighbor (owner of Odin, appropriately named since he's the Ethel Merman of noisy felines), I found a whole slew of Allport Editions cards by David Price that might interest various people here.

My attempt to embed a link to it vanished, so here's the bulky address you'll need to get to a page with all his bestsellers:

Though the meters can be terrible, the parodies are still funny -- sometimes even clever. My faves, beside the Cat's one: "A Literary Christmas" and "A Book Lover's Christmas", both of which give a nod to genre works. There are others for various cities, states and regions. (Nothing Chthulhoid, more's the pity.)

#95 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 10:33 AM:

I thought the whole point of silicone was that it wouldn't stick.

You know, I was going to put in an "(ouchie)" or something there, but I thought I'd better not stoop (!) that low, having posted such a link in the first place.

#97 ::: Velma ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 10:54 AM:

Teresa, now that you've mentioned your desire, how many St. Sebastian pincushions do you think you'll get this year?

#98 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Jeez, dreamy Jared Padalecki is going to play Thomas Kinkade? What a waste of dreaminess.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 12:53 PM:

ethan is right again. And did you look at the story blurb? Barfulous kitsch, like an episode of The Waltons, but without the realistic historical drama.

The line from that TV series that has stayed with me is "It isn't whiskey, Mama, it's eggnog." That line both exemplifies and describes what was wrong with that whole series.

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 01:14 PM:

Xopher @ 99... ethan is right again

Sockpuppeting again?

#101 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 02:22 PM:

Serge: Absolutely not!

Xopher, "barfulous kitsch" has to be the most delightful thing I've read all day. And entirely accurate.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 02:30 PM:

Yeah, Serge, how dare you. I support ethan entirely in this.

And ethan, thank you. I'm delighted, but not surprised, that you like it.

#103 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 04:06 PM:

Oriental Trading is also a valuable source for chocolate religious-themed Easter eggs that are certified kosher. Possibly the only source.

Stephen@74: I have "Even Scarier", and it's great.

#104 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 06:09 PM:

Nicole TWN @ 103

WTF? Are there many orthodox Jews who keep Koshroth who celebrate Easter? Or is this a special for switch-hitting Kallikantzaroi?

#105 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Bruce, I know I'm not very Jewish, but I swear you're just making up words now.

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 06:44 PM:

Kallikanzaroi is Greek, ethan. Or just Zelazny, take your pick. Koshroth, OTOH, is a misspelling of Kosh Wroth, which is a Babylon 5 reference.

#108 ::: Soap Dowell ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 07:47 PM:

H. L. Mencken once observed "Nobody ever lost money underestimating the taste of the American public."

#109 ::: Nicole the Wonder Nerd ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Bruce @ 103: It does boggle the mind, doesn't it? I realize the Internet makes it profitable to market to a small niche, but this seems like an extreme example.

"Hey! You got your god on my dietary restrictions!"
"Oh yeah? YOU got your dietary restrictions on my god!"

#110 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:19 PM:

I've been working up some Christmas and Hannukah card designs this year. One of my rejected ideas was a 20-sided dreidel with the caption "+8 olive oil," or perhaps m4cc48335 pwn!"

#111 ::: Cassie ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:31 PM:

David@87: I am now deeply ashamed.

The name of the compass still conjures up a strange mythic image in my head, though.

#112 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2007, 09:35 PM:

Bruce 107: Who you gonna believe, Wikipedia or Zelazny? (OK, OK.)

As for Kosh...because the humans did not share his fanatic zeal for destroying the Shadows? I dunno. He must have been annoyed from time to time. You're the one who used the word, not me!

#113 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2007, 11:40 AM:

On a slightly more interfaith note, there is Jeff Trexler's The Blingdom of God featuring Christian gas masks, a Buddhist bug trapper, the Jedi Last Supper and a toilet paper dispenser that will not be available at a religious articles store near you.

#114 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: November 30, 2007, 01:54 PM:

Teresa@62: I believe I saw the Original Object at Cow Parade Mexico City in Feb '06.

It was magnificent.

#115 ::: glinda the rather afraid ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2007, 05:49 PM:

re: me at @ 67:

I was reminded elsewhere that I may have been wrong about not having friends who would inflict the Glinda-cow on me...

Also, for Teresa: please let us know just how many of those St. Sebastian pincushions you receive?

#116 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2007, 06:05 PM:

Chris @ 44: if the models were all dressed like Miss December, indeed, I know LOTS of people who'd think the calendar was just perfect, and hang it right next to this year's Edward Gorey.

Unfortunately, Miss February is in Daisy Dukes. Daisy Dukes, alas, are Not Goth. :)

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2007, 06:13 PM:

glinda @ 115... I wonder if we'll see you in Tin Man tonight.

#118 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2007, 06:28 PM:

I went to a "Micheal's" craft store last week to buy some foamcore board.

On the way out, I went through an aisle of Christmas village stuff. Little plastic models of Thomas Kincaid-style quaint homes and businesses. Skating ponds. White-flecked pine trees.

These things have been around for years, but folks . . . this year . . .



Cheerful little voices all excited about Christmas. All piping up at once.

The horror.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 02, 2007, 06:31 PM:

One of the catalogs that inundate our mailbox has a great Christmas gift for dogs: a watering dish shaped like a toilet bowl.

#120 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2007, 09:54 AM:

I still like to browse through any catalog that isn't unmitigated shlock, *dull* kitsch, and other tedious junk, so I found things of interest in the "Signals" one that recently arrived. (Affiliated with PBS? On the cover, it says it's been "Supporting Public Television since 1986, and it includes some of their DVDs.)

Despite the fairly high percentage of angels, "uplifting" sentiments, and icky pale pink toys and garments, there are also sections that seem aimed more at geeks and goths (lots of Gorey items, including "The Twelve Terrors of Christmas"), and of course the page with Monty Python toys (if the Cow Catapult was a bit cheaper, I might buy one for my husband).
The "History of the Hobbit" three-book box set is strictly for rich fanatics.

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