National Blame Someone Else Day is Celebrated on the First Friday the 13th of Every Year

Friday the 13th is traditionally  a day to safely stay in bed with the covers over your head in order to protect yourself from the horrid bad luck that is sure to come at you on that dreaded day.  …

National Blame Someone Else Day is Celebrated on the First Friday the 13th of Every Year was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

The Comeback And History Of Christmas Kissing Balls

(PCM) Not to be confused with hanging a mistletoe, Christmas Kissing Balls are medium to large size bunches of evergreens, holly and herbs placed in a spherical shape and hung in the doorways of a home. Some people may add pieces of mistletoe to them as well, as a more recognizable symbol to urge those that pass under to sneak in a kiss.

The history of Christmas Kissing Balls dates back to the time of the Middle Ages where people in villages would wind together twine and evergreen branches in the shape of a ball. They would then place a clay figure of the baby Jesus in the center and they were then known as holy boughs. The villagers would then hang their creations in castle passageways and the doorways of larger homes as a way to ensure blessings and good fortune to whomever passed underneath the holy bough and baby Jesus figure.

During the rule of the Puritans in the 17th through the 19th century any type of holiday decorations were severely frowned upon so that was the end of the holy boughs for quite a bit of time. They ended up making a comeback during the rule of Queen Victoria and during the Victoria era the holy boughs or what is know better known as the Christmas Kissing Ball made a comeback in a much different form.  People would take a potato or apple and tie a pretty ribbon around it as a hanger. Then they would stick sprigs of evergreen, holly and sweet herbs into the potato or apple. The result was a new decoration that was both beautiful to look at and smelled delicious as well.

Various herbs and plants spoke a unique and private symbolic language to Victorians and the various ones chosen for the Christmas Kissing Ball decorations could symbolize anything from love, affection, charity and more. It was by the end of the 19th century that the common Christmas Kissing Ball was born and it now symbolized romantic love during the holiday season. The decorations would be found by the dozens adorning ballrooms and homes. The tradition of adding the mistletoe began when a special Kissing Ball was hung in the center of the room and all unmarried maidens would line-up underneath for a chance to be kissed by an unmarried man.

Slowly, Christmas Kissing Balls fell out of fashion by the 20th century and were replaced by just a single sprig of mistletoe hung over or around doorways, however these gorgeous decorations are beginning to make a comeback in a big way. High-end garden centers and greenhouses are beginning to stock traditional Christmas Kissing Balls once again.  You can even find reusable plastic ones at retailers such as Walmart, Kmart and more. Many people have even gotten crafty and begun making their own. Please see below for some easy step-by-step directions for making a very special Christmas Kissing Ball that we are sure you will treasure for years to come.

  1. Pick up a small to medium size craft foam sphere. Be sure to use craft foam rather than floral foam. The size is a matter of preference.
  2. Straighten out a wire coat hanger, stick it right through the middle of that foam ball and loop one end of the hanger back into the ball to hold it securely on the hanger.
  3. Gather together various holiday greenery such as evergreen sprigs, holly, pine cones, spruce springs and anything else you may want to add.
  4. Hang the foam ball in a place where you can work on it from all sides.
  5. Begin cutting down some of your greenery. You can keep it longer if you would like a larger sized Kissing Ball.
  6. Strip the greenery off a few inches of one side. This will make each branch take up less space in your foam ball so you can fit more pieces in and make a fuller Kissing Ball.
  7. Being placing the greenery directly into the foam ball by stabbing them in place. Keep filling it up until you reach your desired fullness.
  8. To get the pinecones to stay in place attach them to some floral wire.
  9. Once you have completed the greenery, tie a large ribbon around the top and voila! You have a gorgeous hand-crafted Christmas Kissing Ball of your very own!

The post The Comeback And History Of Christmas Kissing Balls also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

The Origins Of The Christmas Ornament

ornaments

(PCM) It is the time of year where we are ready to deck the halls and begin trimming our Christmas trees. For many families this is time for togetherness and one of the most enjoyable aspects of the impending holiday season. The tradition of the Christmas tree as we know it today began here in America in the early 1700’s, however the Christmas tree itself dates back to 15th and 16th century Germany.  Evergreens were used first in church plays at Christmas and were hung with apples to symbolize a Paradise tree. Paradise trees later found their way into homes, where they were adorned with small white wafers, and later, small pastries cut into stars, angels, hearts and flowers.

The custom of the Christmas tree began to spread from Germany throughout the rest of Europe and eventually fully decorated trees were brought to America by German mercenaries who were battling in the Revolutionary War. Due to Puritan influence, Christmas was not fully celebrated in America until later in the 1800’s . Decorated trees did not become widely popular until people saw the ornaments brought to America by families emigrating from Germany and England in the 1840s.

Ornaments were not something that was widely available in America and most were shipped over from Germany. They were incredibly elaborate and often times made out of hand-blown glass, lead, with silk and wool threads. Early Christmas trees were also lit with tiny candles in small brass holders rather than the modern electric lights that we find on trees today. One can only imagine the danger of using actual lit candles on a dry wooden tree. Looks like we can thank dear Thomas Edison once again! 

The early 1800s also saw real fruit used to decorate the Christmas tree as it symbolized items that would grow on trees and also symbolized the regeneration of life looking forward towards the spring season. Each year that passed more and more traditions were added to decorating the Christmas tree. In America they began stringing popcorn and dried cranberries to use as garland around the tree. Small gifts were other items that began to be hung on the trees, sometimes contained in small hand-crafted baskets, in fact these small trinkets became such a popular way to decorate the tree that often times Christmas trees were filled with so many of them you almost could not see the actual tree underneath … sound familiar! 

Folklore and legends also play an important role in the the Christmas tree ornaments extensive. The popular German pickle ornament carries with it a wonderful tale. Pickle ornaments are glass ornaments formed in the shape of a pickle. The German parents used it to judge the most intelligent child in the family. The first one to trace the pickle got an additional gift from St. Nicholas. Other popular ornament designs include stars which represent the Star of Bethlehem which guided the three wise men to Christ, bell which are said to bring back lost sheep to their flock, bows which represent everlasting goodwill and of course wreath’s which represent God’s eternal love. 

F.W. Woolworth, an early American mass merchandiser, began importing German glass ornaments into the country in the 1880s. By 1890, he was reportedly selling $25 million worth of them. According to Wikipedia, the first American-made glass ornaments were created by William DeMuth in New York in 1870 in conjunction with the Corning company most well-known for their collection of glass bake ware. Although glass ornaments are still produced, as expensive good quality ornaments often found at markets, ornaments are now frequently made from plastic and available worldwide in a huge variety of shapes, colors and designs. In 1973 the American Hallmark Company first launched the Keepsake Christmas ornaments that revolutionized the ornament industry as we know it today. Once a collection of decorated glass balls and yarn figures, keepsake ornaments are now found in a wide variety of wood, acrylic, bone china, porcelain and other hand-made materials. 

The post The Origins Of The Christmas Ornament appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

‘Price Is Right’ Three-Way Tie Makes History!

price-is-right

(PCM) History was made on the long running CBS game show “The Price Is Right” when not one, but three, contestants each spun a different combination of $1.00 on show’s infamous and colorful big wheel during the episodes Showcase Showdown.

When a contestant spins a combination of $1.00 between two spins they are immediately rewarded with a $1,000 bonus and a chance to spin again. Host Drew Carey appeared amazed when all three contestants each spun a combination of $1.00 in their two spins, delightfully pumping his fist in the air. There have been other ties in the show’s history, however all ties in the past included a contestants spin landing directly on the $1.00 space. Never before have three contestants all added up to $1.00 during the combination of two spins.

The CBS game show has been on the air for the past 45 years, so this is without a doubt an important milestone. The contestant celebrated their big wins by jumping around the stage and embracing one another in a group hug! Congrats!

 

The post ‘Price Is Right’ Three-Way Tie Makes History! appeared first on The World Of Pop Culture.

The Killing Joke A Review

JokerI received my Blueray copy of The Killing Joke Tuesday.  The film had already been screened at Comic Con and had a Fathom Event the previous week so it’s content and it’s controversy was already out there.  I was trying hard to keep an open mind so in order to be fair to the film I decided to read the source material again before watching the film.

The original 48 page comic book set in motion a new path for the DC Universe.  Because of The Killing Joke we gained Oracle as a character and also a paraplegic became super hero.  It was a dynamic story told well and though you are wondering at the end if this is really the true beginning of The Joker you still walk away having experienced a terrific read.

The animated film version did a great job of adapting the source material and if that was all they had done this would have been a great film.  But they had to get clever.

Batgirl has always been one of my favorite characters in the DC universe.  She was originally created to attract more viewers to the Btaman TV show of the 1960s.  The shows ratings were beginning to falter at the end of the second season and the studio was hoping by adding a female character to the show it would attract more viewers.  This actually didn’t work and at the end of the third season Batman came to a close as a live TV show. But Batgirl lived on.

Barbara Gordon was the daughter of Police commissioner James Gordon and secretly Batgirl.  The relationship of father and daughter would add depth to the character for years to come.  Her relationship to , as the character grew in the comic books, was one of mentorship.  She did have a relationship was Dick Grayson, or Robin but never with Batman.  I don’t think Bruce as Batman had much of an ability for actual love.  I think an in depth psychological profile of Bruce Batman Wayne is long overdue.  Just exactly how does his obsession with stopping crime affect his relationships?  My answer would be that he is almost incapable of relationships except where they align with his cause.  This is why in The Killing Joke film with a brief sexual encounter with Batgirl is implausible.

The beginning of The Killing Joke is a new story that features Batman and Batgirl.  The two are trying to bring down a mob boss.  The Mob Boss is infatuated with Batgirl and so Batman tells here she is off the case.  Batgirl ignores him almost gets killed and in a moment of anger the two have sex.  The sex is not shown just Batgirl pulling off her top revealing her bra covered breasts.  The story come to its conclusion and the legitimate Killing Joke story begins.

I am not saying that the new part of the The Killing Joke was bad.  The story was quite good it was the addition of language and sex that bothers me.  Batman The Animated Series was loved by both kids and adults.  It had a great way of appealing to both by making the stories deep for adults but action packed enough for kids.  If they had done this with the Killing Joke I would have had much less of a problem with it.

The Killing Joke Starts with The Joker putting a bullet through Barbara Gordon’s spine and kidnapping Commissioner Gordon in order to drive him insane in a single day.  This was enough to give it at minimal a PG 13 rating but DC wanted an R rating.  I believe they feel they need to stay in competition with Marvel and the popularity of The Deadpool film forced their hand.  But DC has characters that could be used in an R rated film.  Both Lobo and The Specter come to mind.

DC is doing an incredible job with their television adventures, Arrow, Flash, Legends, Gotham and Supergirl are all great shows.  They were also doing great in their direct to video series.  I have enjoyed almost all of those.  DC has nothing to prove to anyone.  They don’t need to be controversial; in fact it hurts them when they are.  They need to take their characters and keep them seeped in the stuff that made them great in the beginning.  Superman fighting for truth justice and the American way and Batman as the obsessed avenger is a lot to work with.

The Killing Joke is a good movie.  It just has elements in it that are not necessary.  If DC would go back and take stand on doing good film work that everyone can enjoy they will rise to the top again.

The post The Killing Joke A Review first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of IndependenceJUly4When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. —

Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In Jefferson’s draft there is a part on slavery here

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

JOHN HANCOCK, President

Attested, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary

New Hampshire
JOSIAH BARTLETT
WILLIAM WHIPPLE
MATTHEW THORNTON
Massachusetts-Bay
SAMUEL ADAMS
JOHN ADAMS
ROBERT TREAT PAINE
ELBRIDGE GERRY
Rhode Island
STEPHEN HOPKINS
WILLIAM ELLERY
Connecticut
ROGER SHERMAN
SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
WILLIAM WILLIAMS
OLIVER WOLCOTT
Georgia
BUTTON GWINNETT
LYMAN HALL
GEO. WALTON
Maryland
SAMUEL CHASE
WILLIAM PACA
THOMAS STONE
CHARLES CARROLL OF CARROLLTON
Virginia
GEORGE WYTHE
RICHARD HENRY LEE
THOMAS JEFFERSON
BENJAMIN HARRISON
THOMAS NELSON, JR.
FRANCIS LIGHTFOOT LEE
CARTER BRAXTON.
New York
WILLIAM FLOYD
PHILIP LIVINGSTON
FRANCIS LEWIS
LEWIS MORRIS
Pennsylvania
ROBERT MORRIS
BENJAMIN RUSH
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
JOHN MORTON
GEORGE CLYMER
JAMES SMITH
GEORGE TAYLOR
JAMES WILSON
GEORGE ROSS
Delaware
CAESAR RODNEY
GEORGE READ
THOMAS M’KEAN
North Carolina
WILLIAM HOOPER
JOSEPH HEWES
JOHN PENN
South Carolina
EDWARD RUTLEDGE
THOMAS HEYWARD, JR.
THOMAS LYNCH, JR.
ARTHUR MIDDLETON
New Jersey
RICHARD STOCKTON
JOHN WITHERSPOON
FRANCIS HOPKINS
JOHN HART
ABRAHAM CLARK

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The Declaration of Independence was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

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