Monday, December 31, 2012

Starting off the New Year with a Winter Oreo Snowman... and a one created with Fungus.

(...although thankfully not necessarily in the same packaging)

Once again companies are rolling out the snowman for the holidays. As the season goes on, we'll be posting more of these... but to start off, meet the Nabisco Snowman who is selling Winter Oreos.
photo by Tamar Stone 2012
It's interesting to note that Nabisco thought it was important to reassure the consumer that although there is red [holiday] creme in the cookie, is still has the "Same Great Taste!" (of the plain - usual - white creme?)

Onto other scientific endeavors starring the snowman, our friend DH sent us a link for this amazing Fungal Snowman from the J. Craig Venter Institute.
Image Credit: Stephanie Mounaud  
Fungal snowman. Hat, Eyes, Mouth, Buttons: Aspergillus niger;
Arms: Aspergillus nidulans;
Nose: Aspergillus terreus with Penicillium marneffei;
Body: Neosartorya fischeri. 
photo by

And in the words of those creative folks - "Let us all show the world the true side of fungus and all its amazing potential. Because we all know they can do more than just sit there and look pretty."

You can check out more holiday fungal inspired artwork by the
creative scientists at the J. Craig Venter Insititute at their website

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays from Akron Ohio's Father Christmas - Archie the Snowman!

Meet Archie the Snowman - a talking 15 foot tall snowman created by Ra'ul Umana.

photo by Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal  
Ra'ul Umana and his harlequin macaw, BeBe, pose for a picture with Archie the Snowman in O' Neil's basement, Nov. 21, 2012, Akron, Ohio. Umana, who was the creator and voice of the snowman, is working with volunteers to not only rebuild Archie but re-create the O' Neil's Christmas experience that featured large display windows along the front and sides of the massive store where seasonal displays were set up for viewing by the public.
Archie the snowman, a local Christmas icon that was on display at Chapel Hill Mall from 1968 until 2004.  Umana, 64, was in charge of the Archies, and hired the pixie and Archie voices for the town's holiday display. 

This year, Umana was put in charge of re-creating Archie and putting together Archie’s Enchanted Encounter, located in the basement of O'Neils, the longtime downtown department store.

Umana spent time making some of the Archies in years past and was the voice of Archie for many holiday seasons, talking to an estimated 21,000 kids one season. Archie was resurrected this year after local fans Tommy Uplinger and David Burkett urged on a Facebook page that Archie be brought back.

To Umana, father of two and grandfather of four, Archie represents all that is Christmas and the holiday season.

“I wanted to bring them not something techno, not something they will look up on their cell phones or computers,” he said. “This is something you have got to see [in person].”
A 4-year-old, he said, “will always be a 4-year-old.”

And, according to Umana: “The same things that make a 4-year-old’s eyes pop out now did in 1900.”

You can read more about Archie and Ra'ul Umana (and Ra'ul's interesting background - from army medic to go-go dancer and more!) at the Akron Beacon Journal Online.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Charles Dickens & A Really Short History of the Snowman

Nice surprise to see The HIstory of the Snowman and "Dickens" in the same sentence when it comes to holiday reading!

Recently the Harrisburg Magazine published an article about "The Really Short History of the Snowman" which gives a shout out to our favorite snowman expert!
Harrisburg Magazine

The author of the article, Bob Carey, says it best:

Plowing through cultural and pictorial references to the snowman through the ages, he [author, Bob Eckstein] manages to bring readers a remarkably intelligent and readable summary of the arc of the snowman genealogy and ethnic background.

Reading the well organized and edited work is more akin to reading Dickens Christmas Carol for its edifying narrative and uplifting vignettes.

And who doesn't love uplifting vignettes for the holiday season (and for the upcoming colder and snowier months!)

If you haven't read the book, you can always find a copy here on amazon! 

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