As not to embarrass yourself tonight at your Festivus family gathering, here are the four tenets of the holiday:
The Festivus Pole: During Festivus, an unadorned aluminum pole is displayed. The pole was chosen apparently in opposition to the commercialization of highly decorated Christmas trees, because it is "very low-maintenance," and also because the holiday's patron, Frank Costanza, "find[s] tinsel distracting."
Today's holiday special: A little 'less syrupy' holiday special
December 23, 1942 -
The Noel Coward-David Lean War time drama, In Which We Serve, premiered in the US on this date.
Although there were doubts as to whether Noël Coward could convincingly portray a hardened naval commander, on the film's release his performance was widely praised.
December 23, 1954 -
Walt Disney's live-action film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, premiered on this date.
Peter Lorre claimed that the giant squid got the role that was usually reserved for him.
Today in History:
December 23, 1750 -
Benjamin Franklin was severely shocked while electrocuting a turkey on this date.
December 23, 1823 -
The famous poem A Visit From St. Nicholas was first published on this date. It begins, Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house / Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ....
Fourteen years after its first publication, an editor attributed the poem to a wealthy professor of classical literature named Clement Clarke Moore.
In the last few years, new evidence has come out that a Revolutionary War major named Henry Livingston Jr. may have been the actual author of The Night Before Christmas.
December 23, 1888 -
After an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh took a razor and removes a portion of his left ear. Their quarrel regarded the prostitutes in Arles who seemed to prefer Gauguin over Van Gogh; the painter delivered his ear a startled prostitute. She fainted.
Some women get very emotional when they receive that special gift.
December 23, 1938 -
The Coelacanth is one of the oldest living fish, and was thought to have gone extinct some 60 million years before Captain Hendrick Goosen caught one off the coast of South Africa on this date.
Since that time, more than 200 Coelacanths have been caught. It is one of the textbook examples of a "living fossil."
December 23, 1948 -
Japanese Premier Tojo and six others were hanged by the War Crimes Commission at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, for the crime of starting an aggressive war on this date.
Now, that's not a necktie you want for Christmas.
December 23, 1968 -
On the first day of the first flight ever by astronauts to orbit the Moon, Apollo 8 commander Frank Borman suffers from the first documented case of motion sickness. Previous astronauts had reported nothing -- partly because their ships were too small for them to move around a lot and get queasy, partly because they kept their mouths shut for fear they'd never fly again.
Oh, wait a minute, yes there is - barfing into someone else's spacesuit.
December 23, 1985 -
In a Lutheran school playground, James Vance and Raymond Belknap acted upon a drunken suicide pact forged while listening to Stained Class by Judas Priest. Belknap shot a 12 gauge shotgun under his chin, dying instantly, and Vance followed, but survived with a severely disfigured face. He later dies from painkillers on Thanksgiving three years later. Both kids' parents file suit against the band, but a judge ultimately rejects their subliminal message theory.
I believe anyone would kill themselves being forced to listen to Judas Priest.
And so it goes.