credits: pinterest – finland 1950s, word porn
The “floating Christmas tree” sits atop the water in Glen Lake.
Drivers cruising along M-22 near Glen Arbor are being treated to a little holiday magic this year: A floating Christmas tree in Glen Lake.
The 12-foot-tall Frasier fir is secured inside a small fishing boat anchored about 600 feet off the shore. At night the tree lights up (thanks to a timer and two solar-powered, 12-volt batteries) and appears to be magically floating atop the water.
It’s the third year in a row that Glen Arbor resident Frank Siepker Jr., who lives on the lake, has pulled off this charming and decidedly Up North-y Christmas display. “People dress up their yards for Christmas; the lake is kind of our yard,” he said. “Everybody gets a kick out of it.”
The tree is visible along the east side of M-22; the best spot for viewing it is at the bridge that divides Glen Lake into “Big” Glen Lake and “Little” Glen Lake (a spot sometimes referred to as “the narrows”).
Siepker said how long the tree will remain in the lake depends on the weather. If too much ice doesn’t form, the tree will stay up until New Year’s Day, at which point Siepker will put on his waders, walk out into the frigid water, and bring the display back to shore.
In the meantime, he said the tree continues to delight his two young children — as it no doubt does many who happen to see it while driving by.
“christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. “
-charles m. schulz
credits: mlive.com, emily bingham, jeff rabidoux (photo)
magnify their strengths,
not their weaknesses.
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imagine my surprise
when i found out
that the party i was going to tonight
at my sweet irish friend’s house
had already happened last night
when i stopped over today
it looked like
a great time was had by everyone
especially those who were there on the right night.
i think this may have been a trifle.
“it gets late early out there.”
Cuba offers rum to pay off $276m Czech debt
Cuban rum is a popular tipple in the Czech Republic. Cuba has come up with an unusual way to repay its multimillion dollar debt to the Czech Republic – bottles of its famous rum, officials in Prague say.
The Czech finance ministry said Havana had raised this possibility during recent negotiations on the issue.
Cuba owes the Czech authorities $276m (£222m), and if the offer is accepted the Czechs would have enough Cuban rum for more than a century. However, Prague said it preferred to get at least some of the money in cash.
Havana’s debt dates back from the Cold War era – when Cuba and what was at the time Czechoslovakia were part of the communist bloc. Cuba now does not have much money but it does have lots of rum – hence this unusual proposal, says the BBC’s Rob Cameron in Prague.
The Czech finance ministry said repayment was possible either with rum or pharmaceutical drugs. But Cuban drugs lack EU certification, so repayment with a more traditional medicine – popular in the Czech Republic – may be easier to arrange, our correspondent adds.
“the best solutions are often simple, yet unexpected.”
credits:bbc news, reuters,
Behold: The World’s Largest (Three-Ton) Gingerbread Village, GingerBread Lane.
The village becomes larger and more elaborate each year.
The day after Christmas is typically a time for relaxation and reflection after a harried holiday season. But not for Jon Lovitch—December 26 is the day he gets started on next year’s Christmas miracle. Driven by visions of Yuletide glory, he hits up stores’ post-holiday sales and stocks up on the sugar, candy and other sweets he’ll use to build his next GingerBread Lane.
The 39-year-old chef has been building gingerbread houses since he was a teenager. But Lovitch is no run-of-the-mill gingerbread aficionado. GingerBread Lane, which is on display through January 10 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, recently broke the Guinness World Record for world’s largest gingerbread village. For the last three years, he’s won the title annually, beating out villages in Norway and other countries.
Made using 682 pounds of homemade gingerbread dough, 775 pounds of candy sourced from more than 11 countries and 3,900 pounds of icing, GingerBread Lane weighs in at around three tons and takes up 500 square feet of space. Between buying supplies, making dough and icing from scratch and decorating each of the 1,102 buildings right down to their gumdrop-speckled rooftops, the completely edible village took about 1,500 hours to construct over the course of an entire year.
“I’m a chef by trade and a food purist, so I don’t believe in using ingredients that are inedible,” Lovitch tells Smithsonian.com. “Sure, it would be much easier to build if I used Styrofoam and glue, but Guinness mandates it’s built in such a way, and that’s the same way I’ve always done it.”
When Lovitch isn’t hunched over his oven in his cramped Bronx apartment, he serves as executive chef at the historic Algonquin Hotel in Times Square in New York City. Because of space restraints in his home kitchen, he can only work in batches on nights and weekends. He makes about three pounds of icing at a time and stores his creations in a spare bedroom. As a result, his entire home smells like a Christmas bakery year-round.“By the end of summer I can’t even smell it anymore,” he says, “but whenever I have friends over, they always comment on it.”
Lovitch’s schedule increases in intensity once July rolls around. He does the bulk of the baking during the summer. It isn’t until fall that he begins work on each structure’s details, from the intricate candy-coated rooftop of the S.C. Kringle & Co. Department Shoppe to the lifelike stonework on the exterior of a row of gingerbread brownstones. Lovitch even uses specially ordered coffee-flavored gum from Japan to simulate brown bricks.
“I try to make my village as lifelike and detailed as possible—it’s a cross between something in a Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and a Tim Burton movie,” says Lovitch. Kids aren’t the only people drawn to the delicious intricacy of his gingerbread creations, he says: “Seniors are also really into it.”
GingerBread Lane’s appeal is widespread, but it can’t last forever. After several weeks delighting kids of all ages, Lovitch must dismantle GingerBread Lane on January 10. Rather than throw his creations in the trash, he invites visitors to come to the New York Hall of Science and take home buildings for free on a first-come, first-served basis. “Taking it apart can be gut-wrenching,” he says. “You realize as you give away each piece that you’ll never see it again. Just like Christmas, it’s an ephemeral thing. A brief, fleeting moment in time.”
“and I had but one penny in the world. thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread.”
– william shakespeare, Love’s Labours Lost
credits: smithsonianmag.com, jennifer nalewki
before he was an astronaut,
john glenn served as a military pilot during world war II and the korean war.
before leaving for combat missions, he always told his wife annie,
“i’m just going to the corner store to get a pack of gum.”
she always replied, “don’t be long.”
” the return makes one love the farewell. “
-alfred de musset
farewell john glenn, one of my heroes.
credits: cnn.com, mental floss, washington post