Gift Tags 2015! (and also the old ones!).

O come all ye grateful! The Phil Are GO! Graphic Blandishment and Photoshoppery Brigade have gifted unto thee a shining and blessed set of printable and cut-outable Pointy tree Day gift tags. We used the various Graphic Gifts from this year's posts, so don't worry that we spent too much time making new art.

Aren't they nice! Yes! They are! Don't spend money on those stupid ones in the stores which are stupid and suck. You're welcome! We're also posting the ones from last year because why not. There's a full-size PNG and JPEG of each depending which way you swing.

Tip of the hat to Aaron Mahler for giving us the idea to make gift tags, way back in the mists of time, last year. Thanks, Aaron!

Yeah, I know. We were going to use some of those pictures from last week's "Christmas Village" article, but we ran out of time just putting these together from ready-made images. I'm not made of time, people!

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Esquire 1959 - Letter form Christmas Village

In the December 1959 issue of Esquire Magazine, Joseph Wechsberg wrote an article describing the cool Christmas traditions of an ancient region of Austria. Freaky costumes and a night time parade made their holiday celebration more like Halloween - and therefore, better - than it is today.

The illustrations look like Maurice Sendak drew them, but the signature is a real puzzle. If any of you can help make out the name, everyone here at GO! Tower would be grateful.

UPDTAE: Alert reader MisterFancyArtPants_2 found out the artist's name! Thanks MFAP!
N.M. Bodecker 1922-1988 (the “N.M.” stands for Niels Mogens, though when asked he would say it stood for “Nothing Much” or “Never Mind”) was born, raised and educated in Copenhagen. He emigrated to the United States after World War II, where for many years his illustrations appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire and Holiday.

Anyway, here is the full article, complete with brilliant illustrations. Please forgive the problems on one or two pages, caused by the stubborn binding and the difficulties of pressing it down on the scanner and scanning it in two halves.

Also, because this was 1959, the author dismisses the beliefs of the participants as "Medieval mysticism", which is pretty much how people label something when someone else's mythology doesn't line up exactly with your own favorite mythology. Anyway, these illustrations would be perfect for this year's Phil Are GO! Pointy Tree Day Gift Tags. We didn't do them last year for some reason, but this year, it's on like Tron. Stay tuned.

You'll have to click each image to open it in a new window at readable size.


2015 Pointy Tree Day Card cattle call.

It's some sort of time again, citizens! "What sort of time again?" you say? Time to get your Pointy Tree Day card, so you can alienate your family by pinning our monstrosity up next to all the cards from normal people. We will need some kind of postal address, though, because it's a real physical thing made of cardboard. Crazy, I know!

Phil Are GO! Pointy tree Day Card F.A.Q. (Fervently Aggravated Query).

Q: How the hell can I get my copy of the P.A.G.P.T.D.C.? Tell me NOW! HURRY!

A: Just send your address (you know, the number on the thing you live in, in the bigger thing you live in, in the even bigger thing you live in) to PhilAreGo@gmail.com. The Postal Service will handle the rest (and by "handle", we mean "posisbly twist, crease, fold, and lose in the footwell of the delivery truck").

Q: No way am I sending you my address! You'll stalk me!

A: If you think we have the time to sit in an unmarked van across the street from your house, you are probably grossly overestimating the interestingness of your life, and also the amount of free time we have here at GO! Tower. If you're that paranoid, give us your work address, or the address of someone you know. We don't care.

Q: Wait. This is free?

A: Yes. It's free.

Q: No way.

A: Yes, dammit. Free. Just for laughs.

Q: Really? Completely free?

A: Okay, screw you. You don't get a card. Happy now?

Q: Do you have any of the older versions of the Phil Are GO! Pointy Tree Day card lying around? Can I get a couple of those?

A: Yeah, we have some of those. If you ask all nice, we'll send an envelope with a few different cards in it while supplies last or until we don't feel like it any more.

Q: Is this year's card another cigarette ad?

A: Funny enough, no. This year we're shaking thing up. We're not out of cigarette Christmas ads, but this year we found something too good not to put it on the P.T.D.C.

Q: Should I have pancakes for lunch?

A: You should always be eating pancakes, Elvis. Merruh Chrimmus.

Tareyton Cigarettes - The warmth of a traditional Exmess.

If you're like most people, your childhood memories of happy Christmases are filled with images of your mom in her red velvet Christmas dress, posing on one knee in your blank, featureless living room, lit like a cafeteria. In the background, you may also remember a semi-convincing backdrop of Manhattan, and white painted Christmas tree, and under that tree are cartons and cartons of cigarettes. Aah, memories.

This is Mrs. Charles Amory, a New York and Palm Beach socialite, which means her only skill is being rich.... and picking out the very best Christmas presents for all the lucky people on her Exmess list! Surely all the friends and loved ones of Mrs. Charles Amory could feel the depth and bond of her personal affection with every puff, because discriminating people are discriminating enough to give the same carefully chosen present to everyone indiscriminately.

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Servicing the machine.

Joke #1 - "Okay, you're nearly there. Hold it. Good. Aaaaand three, two one... clench!"

Joke #2 - Developers are still searching for a less-disgusting replacement for the working name of the "Groinal Sackulator". Current favorite is "Crotchotron".

Joke #3 - "Hey, Don, we're getting some funny readings from that beam you're grinding on, but it could just be some cheese in the waste basket."

Joke #4 - "Done, come down, buddy. I'm sorry for what I said about wave/particle duality."

Joke #5 - Don was snagged again - this time, over eight feet off the floor. He didn't know how this kept happening. He would really have to start watching what he did with his nostrils.

Joke #6 - "Yes, right there. It looks like a good fit. All you have to do is wear this unobtrusive apparatus until we can take the stitches out. You need to be more careful around floor jacks, Don."

Joke #7 - Runner up in Fermilab's 1956 Funniest Accidental Penetration Photo contest.

Joke #8 - "You know, Don, some day people won't need machines like this any more. I think there will be little pills that do the same thing."

Joke #9 - "Nope, it's still radioactive. I'm reading 1200 CPM down here. How do your sperm feel?"

Joke #10 - "We were gonna position the oil filter down here at floor level, but that would have cost ninety cents more per unit. Isn't that funny, Don? ...I said ISN'T THAT FUNNY?"

Joke 11 comes to us courtesy of Mr.FancyPPPants_2. Thanks, MFPPP! - Joke #11: Then Sam realized "That machine is entirely electric!,...Don didn't say 'PISTON', dammit!"...Then he went to get the blow-dryer....

[ Commenter jokes will be added to the post.   -Mgmt.]


Zippo - Santa the enabler.

This 1950 ad for Zippo lighters has a wonderful Santa comic in it. Hooray! The new one's out!

Zippo lighters. Blah blah blah. Windproof, etc etc. Yeah, yeah. You know what? Unless you're a habitual smoker, a Zippo is not for you.

You may buy a Zippo just to keep around, for those occasions when you need to make a fire, expecting the Zippo to be very reliable. It is reliable, so long as you use it every day and keep it filled. The reservoir in a Zippo isn't sealed in any real way. The two halves of a zippo slide together, and inside is a dense square of cotton, which keeps the fuel from sloshing around or running out. What this design doesn't do is keep it from evaporating away in a week or two. So, unless you're "on the junk" look elsewhere for your occasional firemaker.

Anyhoo, on to the comic!

In the first panel, we see a grumpy couple, upset because they can't smoke. Why? Their shitty lighter won't work! They obviously left their Zippo sitting unused for the better part of a month. What a couple of losers! In the background, we see the legs of Santa Claus, dangling festively in the fireplace. It looks like the burden of being an ageless seasonal icon was too much for Santa, and the romantic couple were going to celebrate with a quick smoke. What a bunch of jerks those two are.
What's this? Santa's not dead after all! "Let me get that for you, you dud!" Santa lights the lady's cigarette, proving he is the better man. We can only assume Santa made off with her (She's definitely thin enough to fit up the chimney.) and they got it on in his sleigh. Lesson to all men: if you want your lighter to work when you need it to get you "in the saddle", don't buy a Zippo. Get a 75¢ cent plastic gas station lighter and it will work every time. Then, Santa Claus won't steal your date and do the nasty with her on your own roof, emasculating you. The end.

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Vintage Paperback - C.S. Lewis - Out of the Silent Planet

The Phil Are GO! Antique Store and Garage Sale Assualt Force saw this really old paperback recently, so they seized it for your pleasure. Aren't they nice?

Out of the Silent Planet was originally published in 1938, but this paperback is from 1965... as if you couldn't tell from the terrific cover art. That cover art is what brought it home with the ASGSAF. Look at those cool space balls and those pointy space beams and that crazy "jughead's hat" triangle stripe around the ship.

This is not a review of the book. I haven't read it, but I will eventually. Or, at least I'll try to read it. C.S. Lewis is famously Christian, and his books are often thinly veiled attempts at evangelism. I've heard stories that this eventually was the cause of a parting of the ways between Lewis and his long-time friend J.R.R. Tolkien, who believed that a story should just be a story, and shouldn't have an ulterior motive. Tolkien's philosophy is one that I find agreeable. Anyway, I'll give it a try.

Here's some of the Lewis/Tolkien story, as found on atheism.about.com:

Although Lewis was very proud of his first Narnia book, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and it would spawn a massively successful series of children's books, Tolkien didn't think very highly of it. First, he thought that the Christian themes and messages were far too strong - he didn't approve of the way Lewis seemed to beat the reader over the head with such obvious symbols.
There was certainly no missing the fact that Aslan, a lion, was a symbol for Christ who sacrificed his life and was resurrected for a final battle against evil. Tolkien's own books are deeply imbued with Christian themes, but he worked hard to bury them deeply so that they would enhance rather than detract from the stories.
Furthermore, Tolkien thought that there were too many conflicting elements that ultimately clashed, detracting from the whole. There were talking animals, children, witches, and more. Thus, in addition to being pushy, the book was overloaded with elements that threatened to confuse and overwhelm the children for whom it was designed.

Right on, J.R.

This post's only purpose is to get a high res (at least as high res as Blogger allows, which is 1600px tall) image of this cover art into your hands, stat!

Here's a crop of just the painting, with some light color adjustment. Enjoy!