Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Christmas Cards


Each day from now until Christmas day one article will be devoted to a subject connected with Christmas. Today we take a look at Christmas cards.


Many businesses, from small local businesses to multi-national enterprises send Christmas cards to the people on their customer lists, as a way to develop general goodwill, retain brand awareness and reinforce social networks. These cards are almost always discrete and secular in design, and do not attempt to sell a product, limiting themselves to mentioning the name of the business. The practice harkens back to trade cards of the 18th century, an ancestor of the modern Christmas card.A Christmas card is a greeting card sent as part of the traditional celebration of Christmas in order to convey between people a range of sentiments related to the Christmas season. Christmas cards are usually exchanged during the weeks preceding Christmas day on December 25 by many people (including non-Christians) in Western society and in Asia. The traditional greeting reads "wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". There are innumerable variations on this greeting, many cards expressing more religious sentiment, or containing a poem, prayer or Biblical verse; others stay away from religion with an all-inclusive "Season's greetings".
A Christmas card is generally commercially designed and purchased for the occasion. The content of the design might relate directly to the Christmas narrative with depictions of the Nativity of Jesus, or have Christian symbols such as the Star of Bethlehem or a white dove representing both the Holy Spirit and Peace. Many Christmas cards are secular and show Christmas traditions such as Santa Claus, objects associated with Christmas such as candles, holly and baubles, and Christmastime activities such as shopping and partying, or other aspects of the season such as the snow and wildlife of the northern winter. Some secular cards depict nostalgic scenes of the past such as crinolined shoppers in 19th century streetscapes; others are humorous, particularly in depicting the antics of Santa and his retinue.
The first commercial Christmas cards (see picture below) were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London, 1843, and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley. The picture, of a family with a small child drinking wine together, proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totaling 2050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.
Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials. In 1875 Louis Prang
became the first printer to offer cards in America, though the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market. The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.
The production of Christmas cards was, throughout the 20th century, a profitable business for many stationery manufacturers, with the design of cards continually evolving with changing tastes and printing techniques. The World Wars
brought cards with patriotic themes. Idiosyncratic "studio cards" with cartoon illustrations and sometimes risque humor caught on in the 1950s. Nostalgic, sentimental, and religious images have continued in popularity, and, in the 21st century, reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian cards are easy to obtain. Modern Christmas cards can be bought individually but are also sold in packs of the same or varied designs.In recent decades changes in technology may be responsible for the decline of the Christmas card. The estimated number of cards received by American households dropped from 29 in 1987 to 20 in 2004. Email and telephones allow for more frequent contact and are easier for generations raised without handwritten letters - especially given the availability of websites offering free email Christmas cards. Despite the decline, 1.9 billion cards were sent in the U.S. in 2005 alone. Some card manufacturers, such as Hallmark, now provide E-cards.
Official" Christmas cards began with Queen Victoria
in the 1840s. The British royal families cards are generally portraits reflecting significant personal events of the year. In 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first official White House card. The cards usually depict White House scenes as rendered by prominent American artists. The number of recipients has snowballed over the decades, from just 2000 in 1961 to 1.4 million in 2005.

Joe Bugner

József Kreul "Joe" Bugner (born 13 March 1950) is a Hungarian-born British/Australian former heavyweight boxer. He holds triple nationality, being a citizen of Hungaryand a naturalised citizen of both Australia and the United Kingdom.
Born in Szoreg a southeastern suburb of Szeged in southern Hungary, Bugner and his family fled after the 1956 Soviet invasion and settled in England. During the 1970s, the 240 pound (108kg) Bugner twice held the British and British Commonwealth heavyweight titles and he was a three time European heavyweight champion. He was ranked among the world's top ten heavyweights during the 1970s, fighting such opponents as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Ron Lyle, Jimmy Ellis and Henry Cooper. He fought for the world heavyweight championship in 1975, losing on points in a second bout with Ali.
Bugner retired from boxing in 1976, but over the next two decades he made sporadic comebacks with varying success. He relocated to Australia in 1986, adopting the nickname "Aussie Joe", before retiring again after a TKO loss to Frank Bruno in 1987 (above picture shows official programme). He made a final comeback during the 1990s, winning the Australian heavyweight title in 1995 and the lightly regarded WBF heavyweight championship in 1998
at the age of 48. He retired in 1999 with a final record of 69-13-1, including 43 wins by knockout.

Joe and his family fled to the United Kingdom in the late 1950s because of the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary in 1956 after the Hungarian uprising of that year. They settled in the Cambrideshire town of St Ives. At school Bugner excelled in sports and was the national junior discus champion in 1964. Joe lived and trained in Bedford during his early boxing years, he was a regular at Bedford Boys Club Joe went to Goldington Road School Bedford.

In 1973 Bugner lost twelve-round decisions to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Although the scorecards in these fights were lopsided, Bugner fought well in both bouts and he won the respect of the boxing media and public alike. After their bout, Ali declared that Bugner was capable of being world champion. Ali's trainer Angelo Dundee later echoed that sentiment. The fight with Smokin' Joe in July 1973 at Earls Court in London was deemed a classic. After being knocked down by a tremendous left hook in the tenth round, Bugner arose and hurt Frazier to close the round. Many regard the Frazier bout as being Bugner's best career performance.
After the Ali and Frazier fights, Bugner won eight matches in a row, his most notable victories being over Jimmy Ellis, Mac Foster, and Jose Luis Garcia. By the end of 1974 Bugner was rated among the top five heavyweight contenders in the world.
Bugner challenged Muhammad Ali for the world championship in June 1975, the bout being held in Kuala Lumpur. This fight has been described as one of the most boring championship bouts of all time, with Ali winning a one-sided fifteen-round decision. Bugner maintained a strictly defensive posture throughout this fight, and as a result he was widely scorned by the media and public. In an interview during an April 2008 reunion with Henry Cooper, Bugner defended his tactics in the Ali fight as having been necessary due to the extreme temperature and humidity of the outside venue. Nevertheless, Bugner had fought 27 rounds against arguably the greatest boxer in history without having ever being seriously troubled.
Early in 1976, Bugner announced his retirement from boxing, stating that he no longer felt motivated to fight professionally. Within months however he returned to the ring, and in October he knocked out Richard Dunn to reclaim the British, British Commonwealth, and European championships.
In 1977, Bugner lost a close twelve-round decision to top contender Ron Lyle. After this bout, Bugner again retired, making only sporadic comebacks to the ring over the next decades.
Joe recently took part in the current series of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. until being voted out of the jungle at the end of last week.

Definitions - Computer

Munchies for TV!

The crumbs in the bag after you've eaten the chips.

What you did to the weeds growing in the lawn.

Dot Matrix
Old Dan matrix's wife.

Lap Top
Where the beer spills when you pass out.

The dumb plastic knives and forks they give you at McDonalds.

Real stainless steel cutlery.

Questions You Just Can't Answer

If electricity comes from electrons does it mean morality comes from morons?
If one synchronizes swimmer drowns, do the rest have to drown too?
If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?
If God didn't want us to eat people, why did he make them out of meat?

Male Or Female

WEB PAGES: Female, because they're constantly being looked at and frequently getting hit on.
TRAINS: Male, because they use the same old lines for picking up people.

EGG TIMERS: Egg timers are female because, over time, all the weight shifts to the bottom..

HAMMERS: Male, because in the last 5000 years, they've hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

THE REMOTE CONTROL: Female. Ha! You probably thought it would be male, but consider this: It easily gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying.