Happy Holidays, fellow Planeteers!
Un(der)reported News presents 12 news items for the 12 days of Christmas.

How NORAD keeps track of Santa
In 2007, Google signed onto the project as a technology partner, and since then, has been incorporating NORAD’s data on Santa’s whereabouts into special 2D Google Maps and 3D Google Earth representations. And that’s where the trouble began.

Facebook Group Crowns UK’s No.1 Christmas Song
This might have been an upset of major proportions for the music industry but at the end of the day, it just underscored the power of Facebook.

Wanderlust: The Christmas Bird Count
Honoring a cherished holiday tradition, an army of volunteers will rise at dawn this month to brave cold, rain and perhaps snow to contribute to the world’s largest ongoing wildlife survey: the Christmas Bird Count.

Why A Christmas Carol was a flop for Dickens
Dickens was ultimately elated with the public’s overwhelming response. Thackeray famously called the book “a national benefit”, Lord Jeffrey commended Dickens for prompting more beneficence than “all the pulpits and confessionals in Christendom”, and contemporary readers showed their enthusiasm by storming Victorian book stalls with each additional print run.

Did Jesus’ neighbor sleep here?
Just in time for Christmas, archaeologists on Monday unveiled what may have been the home of one of Jesus’ childhood neighbors.

The humble dwelling is the first dating to the era of Jesus to be discovered in Nazareth, then a hamlet of about 50 Jewish families where Jesus spent his boyhood.

Yorkshire vicar advises hard-pressed parishioners to shoplift
Arguing that society had failed the needy, Father Tim, 41, continued: “My advice does not contradict the Bible’s Eighth Commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.”

Who Put Christ In The Solstice?
The season that we are celebrating now has deep roots in the history and culture of our species. One often hears the phrase “put Christ back into Christmas” as if Christmas is a creation of the Christian faith. Well, perhaps the name is, but the holiday goes back much farther than Christianity.

Bethlehem gets first Christmas rock concert
A young musician who grew up near Jesus’ traditional birthplace feels the old-fashioned way of marking the holiday — hanging around Manger Square and listening to carols — is a little dull.

So Emmanuel Fleckenstein has organized a three-day battle of the bands that he hopes will attract bigger crowds to Bethlehem.

12 Days of Gift-Giving Cost True Love $21,466
At $21,465.56, the eclectic collection of goods and services is about 1.8 percent more expensive than a year ago, largely because of higher gold prices, according to PNC Wealth Management in Pennsylvania.

He Delivers Christmas Trees for Rent
Rentable Christmas trees, which have been tried in Oregon and a smattering of other places over the years, are a perfect match for Los Angeles, he said, where Christmas trees have “an image issue,” and escaping a drive through traffic with a tree strapped to a car roof is especially welcome.

Father dresses as Christmas tree to help daughter’s bell-ringing effort for Salvation Army
As she watched one man slide two $20 bills into the Salvation Army’s red kettle outside The Crossroads mall Wednesday night, Kim Schoetzow did not know why people were so generous.

She thought, however, it might have something to do with the giant, bouncing Christmas tree next to her.

Christmas in Afghanistan
The S.C. agriculture unit is based in mountainous Logar province, which borders Pakistan. The unit’s mission is to assist provincial and district government officials in helping Afghans with all aspects of agricultural development, said Dunn of Columbia.

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Good morning!
I didn’t know where else to place this, since I can’t find the ‘morning blog.’
Looks like FREE TV could become a thing of the past, and Rupert Murdoch appears to be behind it.
I wouldn’t mind it if Fox stopped broadcasting for free, but geeze, I’d sure miss TV.
I’ve never understood why people ‘pay’ to watch TV from cable or satellite, when there are more commercials than ever.
When cable first started, the selling point was commercial-free TV but that changed once more and more people began buying TV.
I guess we’ll learn to live without television if this comes to fruition and we’ll probably be better off for it.
We can always check out our favorite programs from the library and listen to the radio, until they start charging for that, too.

Broadcasters’ woes could spell trouble for free TV


Well good morning to you too, javaz! I hope you are well! 🙂

Ah, the good ol’ days of rabbit ears and coat hangars with aluminum foil on top of the overly-large TV set! And it was FREE!

Since I live by myself, my TV is noise in the house. But I do watch a lot of it, especially the news. My cable bill is through the roof! Living in a very mountainous area, I would not be able to get anything with a regular antenna, so I guess I have to pay it.


We have the digital converter boxes for television and a special digital receiver outside mounted to the side of the house.
There is no longer a need for antennas or rabbit ears, and the digital receiver outside is smaller than a shoebox and cost 30 dollars or so.
It works just fine, except in bad weather and then we lose some stations.
But the digital television is wonderful as we gained so many more stations.
On our last scan, we picked up another station – an old movie channel called ‘This’ and we can watch movies all day long, and that’s much fun.
Some aren’t all that old either, but we love the older black and white movies.
When we travel or dogsit for our neighbor that has satellite, we have found that there are more commercials on pay TV than free TV.
We prefer free TV, especially PBS, because we are against paying to watch commercials and we’re cheap!


Again, nellie, a great-fun post. I love to read stories that I don’t come across from around the nation and world. I do get hung-up and enjoy reading some of the other local stories from the links. One that caught my eye: “Pirate Update: Ariana Crew Abandoned Again”. Something to do about Greeks and the name “Ariana” 🙂 http://www.salem-news.com/


~*~waves to b’ito!~*~

Did you have a good Christmas Day?
We watched 3 movies – ‘Julie and Julia’, which was much fun and entertaining, ‘Badder Santa’, which was, well, indescribable but hilarious, and ‘The Family Stone’, which was funny and beautifully poignant.

The husband is now watching a Jackie Chan movie – ‘Medallion’ while I play for a bit on the Planet.


Hello, j’avaz, hope you had a pleasant Christmas. It is “freezing” here for me. I need some of those gloves from Dickens with the fingertips cut off and a pair of lambs wool boots in this shack.


“”They say if the people do not speak, the stones will speak,” said the Rev. Jack Karam of the nearby ornate Church of the Annunciation,””

My favorite quote of the day from the article about Jesus’s neighbor in Nazareth, since it’s so very true in the world of archaeology.

I’m surprised reading about Christmas carols in Bethlehem and that this is the first rock concert in that city!

And I’ve never heard of a Christmas Bird, or ever knew that they were so rare!
Then again, if I’ve never heard of them, that does explain about them being rare!

I’ve enjoyed reading all the stories you’ve provided, Nellie, and thank you again for your brilliant contribution!


j’avaz, nellie, Why in my mind did I think that Nazareth was larger than 50 homes? Must have been all those picture books in Sunday School of the “throngs”of people. ~smile~


Very nice compilation of stories again, Nellie.
Fascinating article about a “Christmas Carol” and reminds me of Frank Capra’s – “It’s a Wonderful Life” – since it flopped at the theaters when it first opened in 1946.
Even though it was nominated for 5 Oscars, it failed to win in any of the categories.
Some believe it was the high cost of production that labeled it a flop, while others believe it had something to do with a nation still recovering from WW2 and found the movie depressing and not happy enough for Christmas.
Capra’s reputation for putting out money-making-films was tarnished by the lackluster ticket sales.
Amazingly, “It’s a Wonderful Life,”, as with Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is one of the most popular Christmas stories and Capra’s movie was voted one of the top 100 movies by the American Film Institute and is also rated as one of the most inspirational American movies of all time.