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(011204) The Brick Testament
http://www.thereverend.com/brick_testament/

Brendan Powell Smith
San Francisco, California, USA

Not sponsored by the company that makes the plastic building blocks used to build the elaborate tableaux, nor the religious organizations who take the stories in the two volumes as gospel, Brendan Powell Smith has created an amazing site with The Brick Testament. A fitting start to the last month of the year, The Brick Testament is a site you'll want to share with the entire family. Be aware that these stories may contain nudity, sexual content, violence, and cursing not suitable for younger or more sensitive visitors. Have a look at Brendan Powell Smith's other creations after enjoying The Brick Testament. (Back to top of page)


(011205) Walt Disney Family Museum
http://disney.go.com/disneyatoz/waltdisney/index.html

Katherine and Richard Greene
The Walt Disney Family Foundation

hosted by
Walt Disney Internet Group
Burbank, California, USA

Why?

Why, because Uncle Walt would be turning one hundred years-old today!

 (Back to top of page)


(011206) Card Inspirations greetings cards to make
http://www.cardinspirations.co.uk/demo.htm
http://www.cardinspirations-usa.com/demo.htm

Anne Harding and Linda Jefferson
Card Inspirations
Tewin, England

This section of the commercial Card Inspirations site (http://www.cardinspirations.co.uk/) offers instructions for making your own holiday greeting cards. The ideas here are easy to adapt to use materials found around the house or office, at the local paper house, crafting asylum, or office supply store. Measurements used are in metric, US visitors to Card Inspirations greetings cards to make will need to keep that fact in mind when using the instructions available at this site. In the US, finding envelopes for your creations might be a difficult task if metric measurements are used. there are a number of very nice cards here. (Back to top of page)


(011207) Christmas Magazine - Weihnachtsmagazin
http://www.christmasmagazine.com/

Christmas Magazine
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Updated once a year, Christmas Magazine has been published exclusively at this site since November 1998 by an international group. Originally intended for a much smaller audience, one comprised mainly of family members, Christmas Magazine has increased in scale and scope each year. Available in both English and German language versions, the material here is light but covers a great deal of ground — everything from hanging big glass balls and properly tying bows to photographing holiday lights and napkin folding. Written by professional designers and decorators, Christmas Magazine could very well turn into an annual favorite. (Back to top of page)


(011208) Forgotten NY
http://www.forgotten-ny.com/

Kevin Walsh
Flushing, New York, USA

A suggestion from Site du Jour of the Day reader Francine Douwes, Forgotten NY explores the history of New York City in a very special way. By paying special attention to those elements of architecture and natural history, advertising and infrastructure that often go ignored by residents add to the charm of visiting a metropolitan area and add to the experience. Francine wrote, "…being a New Yorker, I can't help thinking it very appropriate for the season as well".

If the traditional visit to the city is not in your travel plans this particular holiday season, Forgotten NY could be a nice substitute. For those who live in the area, Forgotten NY will make every day a treasure hunt if you allow it. (Back to top of page)


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(011209) HanuKat: Celebrate Hanukkah with the kids.
http://www.hanukat.com/

Bruce Resnick
Playa Del Rey, California, USA

Attempts to turn Chanukah into stories with outrageous content for children to consume continues to amaze. HanuKat: Celebrate Hanukkah with the kids takes the notion an additional step by adding to the stories and elements of the Festival of Lights, which begins tonight. The story of HanuKat and the DreiDells take some getting used to but it's intended for children and it could help explain what tradition dictates. The site has a lot of things for visitors young and old to do and see. The Recipes section in particular stands out and is a nice example of a merchant affiliate account put to good use.

If you are celebrating, have a happy Chanukah. (Back to top of page)


(011210) Chanukah Journal - Yeshivat Har Etzion
http://www.vbm-torah.org/chanuka.htm

Yeshivat Har Etzion
Alon Shvut, Israel

In sharp contrast to HanuKat: Celebrate Hanukkah with the kids (http://www.hanukat.com/) (SdJotD 011209), Chanukah Journal - Yeshivat Har Etzion provides a detailed analysis at various levels. The historical and religious significance of the festival is explained and explored at this, a section of Torah on the Web Virtual Beit Midrash. Torah on the Web Virtual Beit Midrash (http://www.vbm-torah.org/) offers courses on Torah and Judaism through this site and through e-mail messages available by subscription. The material here is of a very serious nature and may not be for everyone. If you are interested in the historical study of Chanukah then by all means, have a look. (Back to top of page)


(011211) Email Santa Claus Christmas Letters!
http://www.emailsanta.com/

Santa Claus
North Pole

courtesy of
Alan Kerr
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Created in 1997 as a result of a striking Canada Post (http://www.canadapost.ca/) and a disappointed niece and nephew, Email Santa Claus Christmas Letters! has grown every year. The first season saw just over a thousand messages sent directly to Santa Claus. Each year the traffic has increased — over 100,000 letters were sent in the year 2000. This year could see that count reach half a million messages. There are English and French language versions available to send Santa Claus a message, play games, color, and check out the "Naughty or Nice" list. Santa Claus will reply directly at the site which is a nice touch. This is an interesting site for anyone with a desire to write to Santa Claus. As always, adult supervision is strongly recommended. You may wish to take a visit first without the children just to be certain that the content at Email Santa Claus Christmas Letters! is appropriate for your youngsters. It could be a fun site to visit with the children or grandchildren. Thanks to Joanne Traeger for the entertaining suggestion. (Back to top of page)


(011212) All about Santa Claus (a.k.a. St. Nickolas, Father Christmas, etc.)
http://www.religioustolerance.org/santa.htm

B.A. Robinson
Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

A nice essay from the pages of the Center for Religious Tolerance (http://www.religioustolerance.org/), All about Santa Claus (a.k.a. St. Nickolas, Father Christmas, etc.) provides a decent history of this cultural icon. Known around the world by several different names, old Santa Claus is a busy fellow about this time of year. Far from being the last word on the subject, if such a thing exists, All about Santa Claus (a.k.a. St. Nickolas, Father Christmas, etc.) does have information from a lot of sources. A very well done overview of the life and significance of Santa Claus. (Back to top of page)


(011213) ChristmasJokes.co.uk
http://www.christmasjokes.co.uk/

Traviss Willcox
HumourHub.com
Dover, England

Like anything that's considered funny, it's all relative — funny is something different for everyone, and ChristmasJokes.co.uk has enough material to go around. Sometimes sophomoric, other times brilliant, ChristmasJokes.co.uk is worth a look because you never know what you might pick up. The humor here ranges from simple knock-knock jokes to more complicated lists:

Top Ten Signs Santa Doesn't Like Your Kid

10. Kid's letter to north pole comes back stamped, "Dream on, Chester!"
9. Kid asks for new bike, gets pack of smokes
8. Along with presents, Santa leaves hefty bill for shipping and handling
7. By the time he gets to your house, all he has left is foam packing
6. Christmas day, your kid wakes up with a Reindeer head in his bed.
5. Instead of "Naughty" or "Nice", Santa has him on the dork list
4. Sends him off on one of them Carnival Cruises with Kathie Lee
3. First words when kid gets on his lap are, "Touch my beard and I'll put the hurt on you."
2. Labels on all your kid's toys read "Straight from Craptown."
1. Four words: "Off my lap, Tubby!"

 (Back to top of page)


(011214) The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
by L. Frank Baum
http://www.pacificnet.net/~johnr/aesop/aesoplfb.html

John R. Long
Star Systems
Reseda, California, USA

Suggested by Jo-Ann Burton, this section of Aesop's Fables - Online Collection - 655+ fables (http://aesopfables.com/) contains one of the most obscure holiday stories ever written for mass consumption. As Jo-Ann wrote, "I found a very cool site for Christmas. It's called 'The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus'. It's a story written by L. Frank Baum. The complete book is at this URL in chapter format."

L. Frank Baum is best known for the Oz books, yet The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus may have more to do with how we see the contemporary Santa Claus than any other single source. While there are several versions of this Public Domain text file out in the ether, Aesop's Fables also has RealAudio versions of Aesop's Fables, Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, and Grimms Fairy Tales on the way. Also here are L. Frank Baum's A Kidnapped Santa Claus, and Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. (Back to top of page)


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(011215) Atlas-e-Cards
http://www.atlasecards.com/

Atlas Design, LLC
Culver City, California, USA

As a small greeting card publisher, Atlas Design, LLC has done an impressive job with their site for electronic cards. The kitsch factor runs high which is fun, the cards require that a Flash or Shockwave plug-in be installed, and sound plays an important part is the presentation. Fast loading and entertaining, both the Everyday and Holiday lines are probably best suited for mature audiences. This is a nice alternative to the larger sites offering electronic greeting cards. (Back to top of page)


(011216) We are the CORK DOLLS
http://home.att.ne.jp/green/cork/e-index.html

Mamiko Kataoka and Jun Sakano
Tokyo, Japan

During this time of year it's always enjoyable to see models and dolls around the house. A toy train or miniature of some sort, the obligatory fake snow added for effect. Creating these displays can be a lot of fun — building materials have included clothes pins, empty thread spools and the like. Think along the lines of a mouse house and you're on the way. A visit to We are the CORK DOLLS could be quite inspiring. Created by Mamiko Kataoka and photographed by Jun Sakano, We are the CORK DOLLS is an amazing collection of creatures and objects. Most are a conglomeration of corks, buttons, and assorted pins. The backgrounds and lighting help to complete the illusion here. What a treat! (Back to top of page)


(011217) SnowCrystals.net
http://www.snowcrystals.net

Kenneth G. Libbrecht
Physics Department, California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California, USA

Featured as Site du Jour of the Day on November 30, 2000, the Jericho (Vermont) Historical Society site, Wilson Snowflake Bentley - Photographer of Snowflakes (http://snowflakebentley.com/) (SdJotD 001130) should be (re)visited before seeing SnowCrystals.net. Wilson Bentley's 1885 photograph of a single snow crystal serves as part of the basis of the research and photomicrography at SnowCrystals.net. More information than you may ever need about snow crystals either in the wild or in the laboratory. Subjects include Early Snow Crystal Observations, Photographing Snow Crystals, Snow Crystal Classifications, Snowflake Physics, and more. Pardon me, but this is a really cool site. (Back to top of page)


(011218) FlightSim.Com The World's #1 Flightsim Site
http://www.flightsim.com/

FlightSim.Com Inc.
Framingham, Massachusetts, USA

Consistently at the top of the best seller lists every holiday season is a specialized type of software. Flight Simulators put users in the pilot seat and as computers become more sophisticated, so too does the software. At one point not too long ago, simple wire frame planes and landscapes were the best available. These days the detail is so realistic, and the gadgets so accurate, that operating a Flight Simulation can be extremely realistic. FlightSim.Com The World's #1 Flightsim Site dates back to 1996 and provides news and information about the industry, allows registered users to share downloads related to Flight Simulators, and much more. From software publishers to first time flyers, there's something here for everyone interested in Flight Simulators. (Back to top of page)


(011219) The Apparently Odd Behaviour of Sunrise/set times near the Winter Solstice
http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/special/sunrise.html

Astronomy Information Service
The Royal Observatory Greenwich
National Maritime Museum
London, England

One of many Astronomy Information Leaflets (http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/index.html) from the Astronomy Information Service of the Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Apparently Odd Behaviour of Sunrise/set times near the Winter Solstice explores the apparent movement of the Sun in the mornings and evenings surrounding the Winter Soltice. Occurring at 19:21 UT (GMT) on December 21, 2001, the Winter Soltice is the point in the ecliptic of the Sun which is the farthest south of the Equator. It is highly likely that the Winter Soltice is the basis of our winter holidays and as we as a society are mostly indoors this annual occurrence is often lost on us. The Apparently Odd Behaviour of Sunrise/set times near the Winter Solstice is worth reading and sharing with family, especially the children who always seem to find this sort of thing silly but remember it all anyway. (Back to top of page)


(011220) The Zuzu News: Official Home of Karolyn Grimes
http://www.zuzu.net/

Karolyn Grimes
Wonderful Life Studios, Inc.
Carnation, Washington, USA

Not too many days ago, I had a conversation on the subject of copyright protection with a client. We were talking about the circumstances leading to a property that has fallen into Public Domain being modified to the point where it could be once again protected by copyright laws. This episode of Site du Jour of the Day from December 20, 1997 (SdJotD 971220) came up in that conversation. It was five years ago that this originally went out, when the site was called The Zuzu News: The Wonderful Life of Karolyn Grimes

When Republic Pictures let its copyright on Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" lapse broadcasters around the world were able to use whatever prints or tape they had free of charge. No royalties needed to be paid on something in the public domain, and in the following years the movie became a classic because of the values presented in the story, the acting, and of course, viewer saturation. The original release of the film was met with mixed reviews -- the message conveyed seemed painfully old-fashioned and after its theatrical run the title was all but forgotten. Recognizing the new status of "It's a Wonderful Life", probably inspired by the Supreme Court ruling in Stewart v. Abend, 495 U.S. 207 (1990) (http://laws.findlaw.com/us/495/207.html), a case in which the copyright protection status of another Jimmy Stewart film, "Rear Window" was decided. Republic acquired the rights to the music in the film and remastered the entire project from the original negatives they still owned. With that taken care of Republic managed to not only set a precedent in the industry, but is seeing the financial benefit of what many assumed to be a lost cause.

The film is indeed a classic. Most readers are familiar with the story of George Bailey played by James Stewart but for the one or two people who have never seen what has been considered Capra's Masterpiece, go out and rent or buy it if you can before looking at this site and the pointers it contains.

The Zuzu News: Official Home of Karolyn Grimes started out as The Zuzu News: The Wonderful Life of Karolyn Grimes, a fan site for the youngest member of the "It's a Wonderful Life" cast. Zuzu and her flower petals were a crucial device for the story and while Karolyn was in a total of sixteen films between 1945 and 1952, it remains her best known role. For news about the actress and a launching point to other sites on the "It's a Wonderful Life" webring this site should not be missed. (Back to top of page)


(011221) In Passing...
http://www.inpassing.org/

Eve S. Dropper
Berkeley, California, USA

We've all experienced it, walking into the pay-off of a conversation or story. Sorta like a real-life Punchline Theater gone bad. We leave with a small piece of the conversation by our own making so far out of context that we cannot help but think about it for the remainder of the day. We sometimes even tell other people what it was we have heard. It's really not gossip, but it could be. Maybe gossip without purpose or direction, anonymous gossip.

Eve S. Dropper (not a real name) has been collecting and sharing these snapshots of conversations since August 11, 2000. Some unfortunate, some funny, and others brilliant:

"'Ok, ok, this is it... THIS time, I'm going to pass.'

'Third time's the charm Fred, not the second.'

--Two guys heading into the stat final ahead of me"

_______________

"'I ran into poor Janelle the other day...'

'Did you say excuse me?'

'No, not like that, you know what I mean, I saw her at the laundromat. She was totally upset and stressed, I felt bad for her. You know people like her...'

'People who need people?'

'Would you _stop_ that?'

--A woman and a man who almost got a beverage tossed at him, at Peet's coffee"

_______________

"'Oh, you're just going to stay hiding there? All right, that's fine, we'll be back in a few days. While you're there, your mom and I will go get some ice cream, and then we'll go for pony rides. Have fun.'

--A man to a small child hiding in a rack of clothing, at Banana Republic"

In Passing... is a fine collection of reporting and commentary from Eve S. Dropper. Even if you don't know what the heck they were talking about, this is fun stuff. (Back to top of page)


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(011222) monkey's christmas
(aka holidays on nice)
http://www.himonkey.net/holiday/xmas/index.html

Monkey
M.A.Pecen
Dallas, Texas, USA

Part of holidays with monkey (http://www.himonkey.net/holiday/index.html) at hi! monkey! (http://www.himonkey.net/), monkey's christmas (aka holidays on nice) is a photo essay from monkey. Without giving too much away, any site that is hosted by a monkey and suggests that a fruitcake must be baked with Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory is just fine by me. monkey Looks at a number of subjects including where Christmas trees come from — and it's not a corner lot somewhere. A terribly cute site. (Back to top of page)


(011223) Accountants worst behaved at Christmas parties - 07 Dec 2001
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=65425&d=448

Sophie's choice: Email jokes for the party season - 20 Dec 2001
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=67042

Articles in the Humour section
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/humour/index.html

of

AccountingWEB
http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/

Sift Group Limited
Bristol, England

Imagine if you will, Bob Cratchit after a couple of pints…

 (Back to top of page)


(011224) NORAD Tracks Santa Website 2001
http://www.noradsanta.org/

North American Aerospace Defense Command
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Analytical Graphics, Inc.
Malvern, Pennsylvania, USA

Since it was started in 1958, the facilities at the North American Aerospace Defense Command have been used to track the progress of Santa Claus as the whole show travels around the world. Taking over from the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), the joint American-Canadian initiative not only tracks Santa Claus, but provides updates to radio, television, and parents at home who are concerned for their children who may not be asleep, which usually keeps Santa Claus away. In addition to the tracking features of this site, visitors can listen to recorded holiday selections played by The United States Air Force Band of the Rockies from Colorado Springs and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band from Edmonton, Alberta, and more. Thanks to Phil Konstantin for the terrific suggestion. (Back to top of page)


Joyeux Noël and Merry Christmas from Site du Jour of the Day!

It sure has been a big year. That end of the year festivals and celebrations will carry special meanings for us individually and collectively is almost certain. Enjoy the time you have with those who are close, you never get it back.

Thank you for reading Site du Jour of the Day. I'm going to take a break through the holidays, with episodes of Site du Jour of the Day starting back just after the first of the year.

Best regards,
Ed


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Copyright 2001, Edward J. Pelegrino. All rights reserved.
Harpo, Trade and Service Marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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Updated December 28, 2001

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