Julbok

Lot's of folks up at Dull's have asked me about the goats: why use goats to pull Yule trees? When I'm feeling especially snarky I just answer "Because I can!", but, of course, there are deeper reasons.

Julbok with Pack The photo at the left shows a Julbok (modern English "Yule Buck") or Christmas Goat ornament. This is a fairly common and widespread tradition across Northern Europe, from Scandinivia (especially Sweden) across Finland and into the Slavic countries. The Julbok was originally one of the goats that pulled Thor's chariot. Nowadays he's considered one the of the symbols of the season, and many figurines, most made of straw, are built for display under the Yule tree (below, left) or even in the town square (below, right). In some areas, vandals have taken to burning the town's Julbok.

Straw JulbokJulbok Illustration from children's bookGiant Julbok (Photo from Pravada.ru)

The Julbok has also become quite a famous literary character (above, center): a man dressed as the "Christmas goat" delivers presents in this illustration, taken from a Swedish children's book, "Petter and Lotta's Christmas," by Elsa Beskow, published in 1947. Sometimes Santa rides the Julbok, rather than arriving by reindeer pulled sleigh, and sometimes Santa is still considered a tomte, what modern Heathens would call a landwight, who lives in the barn or under the floor and is responsible for the luck of the household throughout the year. Interestingly enough, it's tradition to leave gifts of cookies, porridge and milk for the tomte, to insure your luck in the coming year.

One has to wonder how these relate to the Wild Hunt and the Krampusse. In any event, it's quite amazing to me how deeply Heathen many of our most cherished Christmas traditions really are: I wonder how the public would take to a campaign to "Put Thor Back into Yule!"

Update: If you'd like your very own straw Julbok, here's where to get it! I also found a bit more history on the Gävle Goat, mentioned above by way of burning this year (again).

00:00 /Asatru | 2 comments | permanent link


'Goodnight Moon,' Smokeless Version

Uncle Joe would be mighty proud of HarperCollins!

In the great green room, there is a telephone, and a red balloon, but no ashtray. "Goodnight Moon," the children's classic by Margaret Wise Brown, has gone smoke free.

(link) [The New York Times]

via Overlawyered - also, check out the followup editorial here

00:00 /Politics | 2 comments | permanent link


Microsoft invests $1.7bn in India

One more reason to despise the Evil Empire ...

The US software giant Microsoft unveils plans to invest $1.7bn in India over the next four years.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link


Wordsmiths hail podcast success

And that just amuses some of us audio geeks to no end ... it's purely a marketing ploy. A podcast is an media (usually MP3) file, usually (but not always) served as an attachment in an XML wrapper. And further, Apple put the 'pod' in podcast, as it's naught but a reference to the ubiquitous iPod. So 'podcast' is a play on a commercial term for a type of file that's been around for more than a decade - and now it's the "word of the year".

Hmmm, now that we know the parameters, maybe we should start a meme that has a chance to become the 'Word of the Year' in the next ten years. Let's see - well, 'Windows' is a trademarked commercial term, and it's really singular, not plural. That opens some doors. There are several classes of programs around for Windows that break it - virii and trojans come to mind. So what if we began referring to those as 'brix' - because as real bricks break real windows, virtual bricks break virtual Windows. Get it? The 'x' is there because it's hip to be x, and to make it faux plural! Clever, eh? Word of the Year in 2015, here we come!

I don't know, though. We'd have to maintain the fake plurality. Telling somebody that "I got brixed!" may be OK, because it's unambiguous, but you couldn't say "I got a brick through my Windows." or folks might assume you'd been the target of protesters rather than malware authors.

Hey, wait a second ...'malware' for Word of the Year, 2006!

The term 'podcast' has been declared as Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

00:00 /Humor | 1 comment | permanent link