Melampus, the Nativity Basset Hound: Part One

Historians trace the basset hound back to the pack raised by St. Hubert of Liège, who was an avid huntsman. But even forefathers have forefathers. If you’re willing to put your trust in folklore, then the breed’s remotest ancestor — what Wotan was to the Germanic tribes and Oghuz Khan to the Turks — was [Read More...]

“Hallelujah” in Alaska: Northern Christmas Lights

In most cases, playing Christmas music after Christmas is in even worse taste than wearing white after Labor Day. This video from Quinhagak, Alaska, demands a dispensation from that rule. The inhabitants of this village on the Kanektok river — major industries fishing and canning, per capita income $8,127 — pull off this masterpiece by [Read More...]

A Merry Middle-Class Christmas

Bob, my mother’s boyfriend, will argue that Happy Days jumped the shark several seasons before Fonzie actually strapped on his water skis. In his view, the show’s lethal injection with schmaltz came the moment the Fonz sat down with the Cunninghams around their Christmas tree and read “The Night Before Christmas.” When the onetime breakout [Read More...]


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