Lego Roundup

Durham Cathedral

Last year, I told you about a British family that constructs a giant Lego project every year at Christmastime. BBC reports that Mike Addis and Catherine Weightman are at it again sans their children, who are finally fed up with the tradition. In BBC’s retelling, the two children mounted a failed campaign to build a Death Star. When Mike and Catherine chose Durham Cathedral instead, the children handed in their resignations.

Durham Cathedral Credit: BBC/Mike Addis

Durham Cathedral
Credit: BBC/Mike Addis

 

Winter Village

I also told you last year about my own Christmas Lego display. It’s up again this year, but I rearranged the sets to look more like a coherent village. Voila:

Xmas left

Xmas right

Xmas total

 

A Very Christmas Lego Roundup

Today I bring you my Christmas Lego display. Probably would’ve gotten more traffic if I’d published it a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t have the energy.

This is every set from the brilliant Winter Village series, plus last year’s special edition and one of this year’s two special editions.  Sorry that some of the pics are a bit out of focus.

IMG_1399 IMG_1398IMG_1400 IMG_1401 IMG_1402 IMG_1403 IMG_1404 IMG_1405 IMG_1406 IMG_1407 IMG_1408 IMG_1409

Gaga as a Christmas Tree

Not normally one to validate the tabloid scene, I make an exception to bring you Lady Gaga as a Christmas tree in London.

 

Christmas in Advertising

I’m normally quite vigilant against profit-seeking endeavors but man, can you get my attention by bringing Christmas into the picture. The sight of this tree stopped me in my tracks on the way to the store. 20131202-170158.jpgOn an unrelated note, when I was in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea last year, Digicel was one of two service providers on the island. I learned a lot about cellphone use outside of the United States on that trip. Since the US-based iPhone is of no use for us proles when traveling overseas, I eventually bought a $50 phone that can be used in most countries so I can simply purchase a local SIM card and some prepaid minutes upon arrival. No more suffering for lack of communication.

No Pecan Pie This Year

So let's see: At $15.99/lb... Image: Wikipedia

So let’s see. At $15.99/lb…
Image: Wikipedia

Pecan pie is a popular holiday dish. Unfortunately, a confluence of environmental and economic factors has driven the price of pecans out of the reach of most Americans. NYT:

The problem began with record rainfall last spring and summer. Pollination became difficult, and the moisture encouraged disease. Pecan growers sprayed their fields in record amounts, but it was not enough to fight off a disease called scab.

In Texas and Oklahoma, it was a summer drought that hurt the trees. Then came autumn’s heavy rain, which made the ground too wet to hold the heavy equipment that shakes nuts from trees and sweeps them up.

As a result, harvesting was sporadic, and the pecan supply was left wide open for feral pigs, which have become quite a problem in Texas, and for squirrels, which are always looking for a free nut.

“The crop faced a lot of wildlife pressure,” said Blair Krebs, associate director of sales and marketing at the Texas Pecan Growers Association.

The bad nut crop has a few other causes, one of which is the cyclical nature of pecans: Typically, if one year is good, the next year is not.

Last year, for example, Texas produced about 65 million pounds of pecans, said Larry Stein, a professor of horticulture at Texas A&M University. Most estimates indicate that this year will bring no more than 35 million pounds.

Then there is China.

In the mid-2000s, the market for pecans in China began to grow rapidly. China now consumes more than a third of the American pecan crop, a development that followed the country’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization in 2001.

“Before that, they didn’t know what a pecan was,” said Randy Hudson, the owner of Hudson Pecan Company here in Ocilla and a vice president of the National Pecan Growers Council.

With about 1,500 acres, Mr. Hudson’s company is the largest pecan operation in Georgia. More than 90 percent of his crop goes to China, which makes him one pecan farmer who is not unhappy this Thanksgiving.

“You raised the price I get by 600 percent?” he said. “You are my best friend.”

A Lego Thanksgiving

I’m pretty sure there are some historical inaccuracies here, but…

Enormous Menorahs

Yahoo! News assembles some pictures of enormous menorahs around the world. The scene in Trafalgar Square is pretty cool.

This year, Hannukkah begins Wednesday night at sundown and continues through Thursday, December 5th.

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