1933: Santa Facts

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Santa Facts
We've gotten him up to 20% milk and cookies through an aggressive public campaign, but that seems to be his dietary limit. Anything above that and he starts developing nutritional deficiencies.
Title text: We've gotten him up to 20% milk and cookies through an aggressive public campaign, but that seems to be his dietary limit. Anything above that and he starts developing nutritional deficiencies.

Explanation[edit]

This, the second Christmas comic in a row, provides some dubious "Facts" and "Figures" of the creature known as "Santa". We can see from the drawing that this is obviously meant to be either Santa Claus or a parody of Santa Claus.

This comic is reminiscent of the xkcd Phones series.

Type: Flying/Psychic

A reference to Pokémon. The type of a Pokémon describes and determines its abilities (including attacks), affinities, and general nature. In most stories Santa Claus rides a sled pulled by flying reindeer (all other Flying-type Pokémon fly under their own power) and some kind of magical power. Psychic possibly refers to his ability to know a child's activities and behavior, including when they are sleeping or awake, implying a psychic ability to read minds. In the Pokémon Go Christmas event which began on December 22nd a new Christmas Pokémon was released, Delibird which looks a lot like Santa Claus, with a tail it holds in its hand so it looks like a bag of presents. It can actually attack with an attack type called "Present", and is known to share the food it stores in its tail, like a real Santa. Also the most known Pokémon, Pikachu appeared in a Santa Claus hat.

Plural: "Santa"

The plural form of 'Santa' conveniently parallels that of 'reindeer' (as well as those of several Pokemon creatures). In real life, "santa" means "saint" in most Romance languages. However "santa" is not plural in any of these languages (for example, in Portuguese the proper plural would be "santos"). Under the most common English approach for making a plural noun, Santa would have a plural of "Santas". Taking "Santa Claus" as a separate noun, the plural would be "Santa Clauses".

Active warrants: 5

There is an active warrant for Santa's arrest in 5 jurisdictions, presumably for breaking and entering or for operating a flying sleigh without the proper licensing, while drunk, or over the speed limit.

Lubricated for easy passage down chimneys

The diagram indicates that Santa's attire is lubricated to ease his traditional method of ingress and egress. This explanation is incomplete, however, as a great many chimneys have cross-sectional area substantially smaller than that of a normal human body, let alone a portly one, as commonly described. The common presence of chimney caps, fireplace dampers, and the like would also impede Santa's passage down a great many chimneys. That said, if we take the classic poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" into account, the statement is technically true, just "lubricated" with magic rather than physical lubrication. A less classic example of Santa going down the chimney with help of magic can be seen in The Santa Clause [1]. "Lubricated" is also a reference to lubricated condoms - see "Ribbed" below.

Vertical Leap: 14 Miles

For a non-magical being or object, a vertical leap of 14 miles (~23 km), ignoring air resistance would require an initial launch velocity of slightly more than 2180 feet per second (665 m/s), somewhat over twice the speed of sound. Achieving this velocity by means of bending then straightening the legs would require an acceleration of roughly 25,000 G, placing extraordinarily high demands on the strength of the legs. As Santa does not have a particularly aerodynamic shape, air resistance would increase the launch velocity and launch acceleration requirements substantially. Santa may be able to overcome these problems due to his magical nature; however, there is clearly still a limit to what this can achieve, as there is a maximum to his leaping ability.

Sleigh Flag of Convenience: Panama

The Flag of Convenience identifies the country in which an ocean-going vessel has its registration information. Panama maintains one of the top three open registries. Owners of a vessel may choose to use an open registry to avoid labor or safety regulations of the owner's country. They may also choose such a registry to help obscure ownership of the vessel. Which concern applies in the case of Santa's sleigh is not stated, or (more likely) not known. It may also be the only type of registration available, since the north pole is not in any country, so there is no "owner's country".
However, a ship's flag state exercises regulatory control over the vessel and is required to inspect it regularly, certify the ship's equipment and crew, and issue safety and pollution prevention documents. One suspects that this does not, in fact, happen regularly with Santa's sleigh. Also, as a flying sleigh, the registry for ocean-going vessels is not applicable. Instead, it would be registered as an aircraft, with the FAA (in the U.S.), EASA (in Europe), or the equivalent in another country. Civilian aircraft have their registration number painted on their tails, but are not required to display a "flag". (However, U.S. Airways used a stylized version of a U.S. flag as a corporate logo prior to its merger with American Airlines.)

9th in Presidential Line of Succession

The Presidential Line of Succession specifies the order in which persons may become or act as President of the United States if the incumbent President becomes incapacitated, dies, resigns, or is removed from office. Having Santa as the 9th in that order would place him above the Secretary of Agriculture. An alternative interpretation would hold that Santa is the present Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue.
Assuming Sonny Perdue is not Santa Claus, Santa is likely ineligible for the Presidency, as most origin stories of Santa have him a natural-born citizen of a European country (or of Turkey) rather than the United States. Alternately, Santa might be old enough to qualify under the "citizen at the time of the adoption of this constitution" clause, although in light of the information that Santa is actually an arthropod and/or a vampire (see below), his status as an American citizen is dubious.

Not technically an insect — actually an arthropod

This "fact" uses an absurd misconception to correct a relatively common misconception. Absurdly, Randall has mistaken Santa for a lobster, given his bright red coloration and the surname Claus (which is pronounced the same as a lobster's "claws"). This may be an homage to the film the Nightmare Before Christmas, where Jack Skellington believes Christmas Town is led by "Sandy Claws" who is "like a lobster, huge and red".
There is a relatively common misconception that lobsters are insects. In fact, lobsters are crustaceans, but there is a kernel of truth to the misconception, as crustaceans and insects are related (both are arthropods). Thus, the "fact" states that Lobster-Santa is not technically an insect; he is actually an arthropod.

Only known vampire able to enter house without being invited

In traditional vampire folklore, a vampire cannot enter an abode without an invitation from the owner of the same. Santa, however, seems to be able to enter houses even without explicit invitation (although plenty of children do welcome him, either via written notes or by their general sentiments), so if he is a vampire he is the exception to that rule. This juxtaposes interestingly with the previous point about his arthropod nature.
His being a vampire is perhaps related to his dressing all in red, and alleged immortality.

Works with Alexa

May have any of several meanings, including that Alexa (Amazon's virtual assistant) is Santa's colleague, that Santa uses Alexa in his work, that Santa is somehow functionally compatible with Alexa, or a reference to various Santa-themed 'skills' that Alexa can be associated with. A common advertisement states that a product is compatible with Amazon's smart device, Alexa. But it could also be a play on the idea or fear that Alexa may be used to spy on people from the privacy of their own homes, much like what is claimed of Santa ("he sees you when you're sleeping, [...]"). Finally, several skills designed to entertain users of Alexa are themed around Santa Claus, including asking Alexa where Santa is on Christmas Eve, whether or not you've been naughty or nice, or even leaving the jolly old elf a voicemail.

Ribbed

A reference to condoms, which have ridges or ribbing in order to promote pleasurable stimulation during coitus (see "Lubricated" above). This also puns on the fact that, as a humanoid, Santa presumably has a rib cage. (This might directly contradict the claims about his being an arthropod.)

IUCN Red List: Critically endangered

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) monitors the size and viability of populations of organisms; 'critically endangered' marks a population as being highly susceptible to extinction. Santa, being one (or possibly two, if we include his wife) of a kind and lacking any offspring (and, indeed, likely being incapable of effectively producing any), will most likely be the last member of his population; thus extinction will arrive with his or his wife's death. Note, however, that the presence on the Red List implies that "Santa" is a biological species, not a fantasy, robot, or other non-biological entity. This is consistent with Santa being an arthropod and/or vampire, but would suggest that there are many specimens of Santa, while other 'Facts' (such as having a definite ranking in the Presidential Line of Succession) suggest Santa to be a single individual.

Diet: 80% Reindeer

A mocking allusion to Santa Claus's sleigh, usually pulled by reindeer. Usual folklore depict Santa Claus being extremely fond of his reindeer, thus making it a humorous contrast to suggest he'd be eating reindeer meat on a daily basis.

Liability Insurance: None

As a result of his diet (see above), alleged criminal activity (ditto), species ambiguity, and occupation, Santa would find the cost of liability insurance quite high. He instead chooses to 'go bare' and operate without any.

The title text states that as a result of intervention Santa's diet is now 20% milk & cookies, implying that previously it was 100% Reindeer. If he is indeed a vampire, it is odd that Santa could survive on a diet of reindeer, milk, and cookies, since vampires supposedly need human blood to survive. Of course, his entering without being invited already shows Santa to be a highly unusual vampire. Additionally, it is possible that he consumes reindeer blood as part of his reindeer diet (vampires living off animal blood is not unheard of in modern fantasy). Related to that may be the observation that he seems to develop "nutritional deficiencies" when going below 80% reindeer meat, as that would logically result in him consuming less blood and thus starvation due to his vampiric nature.

Transcript[edit]

[An annotated picture of Santa is shown.]
Santa
Facts and Figures
Type: Flying/Psychic
Plural: "Santa"
Active Warrants: 5
Lubricated for easy passage down chimneys
Vertical leap: 14 Miles
Sleigh flag of convenience: Panama
9th in presidential line of succession
Not technically an insect—actually an arthropod
Only known vampire able to enter house without being invited
Works with Alexa
Ribbed
IUCN red list: Critically endangered
Diet: 80% Reindeer
Liability Insurance: None

Trivia[edit]


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Discussion

I added a Taxonomy Note as I wanted to raise the difference between Santa and Father Christmas. The latter wears a hooded, ermine trimmed robe (red in Britain, green or white in other domains) with full sleeves and a simple tie cord for a belt. Probably shoes and gloves - if not bare hands. It's easy to spot the difference when you know. He probably walked at the head of a procession, despensing good advice and the good news that the days were not getting any shorter. Latterly he fell on hard times and was the chief reveller and drunkard. RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 20:19, 26 December 2017 (UTC)

I don't think this should be in the table --172.68.54.106 15:35, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
A BIG THANKS!!! I'm fighting against windmills, ehh... tables in explanations like this since a long time. Tables are meant to provide a brief overview, but when a cell is exploding to many sentences that's a really bad layout. Please check my changes and let me know.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:22, 28 December 2017 (UTC)
Special: Contributions - apart from 60 years in Britain, just Wiki Father Christmas. You say FC is indistinguishable from SC? Hooded robe, tie cord , shoes and bare hands vs Cap, jacket, trousers, wide buckle belt, boots and mittens. Walking or horse, using door, blessing, feasting and drinking vs flying sleigh and tundra fauna (reindeer), chimney, presents (possibly originally red and white mushrooms). The gown vs jacket et al makes identification easy at 1000 yards! RIIW - Ponder it (talk) 19:19, 27 December 2017 (UTC)
(Side note: The words "Special: Contributions" is a wiki note, not part of his name, which means not only is it generic, but this text is only visible when writing, so it makes for a poor nickname). Sorry, I must agree with ol' 216 22. Everything you've specified are standard and common accepted variences of Santa Claus, including the name Father Christmas. People (writers, directors, costumists) tend to use such aspects when they want an old time classic and/or more wholesome feel to the depiction. And the name "Father Christmas" is seen as an alternate name for Santa - like St. Nick and St. Nicholas - with a mild implication towards including these concepts. Plus, the gloves are the worst example of all, because even the more common jacket-and-belt version will often use fine gloves rather than mittens or bare hands. At least here in North America. Maybe in Britain they're treated as two different characters (though why????!?), but in North America this is one character. When it comes to cultural differences, unless specified otherwise the comics are referring to how things are in the U.S.A. simply because that's where Randall lives. Combine this with the fact that nowhere is "Father Christmas" even mentioned, trying to define such a distinction isn't suitable. Besides, if they're separate characters, the one has no place being mentioned in a comic about the other, right? :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 09:00, 29 December 2017 (UTC)
"Maybe in Britain they're treated as two different characters" - They're not. 141.101.76.16 10:05, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Well, _I_ didn't think so, but RIIW is insisting otherwise. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 19 January 2018 (UTC)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm fairly certain Santa would only be charged with trespassing (rather than breaking and entering) in many states. Someone should try to find the 5 states where entering a house through a chimney would result in a warrant. --172.68.238.172 09:53, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

A vertical leap of 14 miles (~23 km), ignoring air resistance would require an initial launch velocity of slightly more than 2180 feet per second (665 m/s), somewhat over twice the speed of sound. Is there something clever to be observed here about sonic booms (or lack thereof)? JohnHawkinson (talk) 13:46, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

I'm not going to bother to update the page, but the comic was updated to fix the arthropod error (the original wording implied that insects were not arthropods). Also, "RIIW - Ponder it", your description of Father Christmas is indistinguishable from that of Santa. Could you provide a source for whatever distinction might exist? 108.162.216.22 07:00, 27 December 2017 (UTC)

14 mile vertical leap

Could the 14 mile vertical leap be connected to the flying/psychic type, allowing for a longer duration of vertical thrust than the duration for which Santa's feet are touching ground? If one of Santa's vampiric abilities allows him to alter his mass without changing volume (many legends allow vampires to turn into bats, which chiropteric forms at least have less mass than their humanoid forms), that could explain the vertical leap stat as primarily deriving from bouyancy, with the limit having to do with the minimum mass he can attain. 162.158.58.45 08:27, 27 December 2017 (UTC)

My assumption was that "14 mile vertical leap" refered to the cumualative distance travel going up & down chimneys over the course of Christmas. JamesCurran (talk) 19:08, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

If we allow the average chimney height to be a probably conservative 5m, this would allow for him to visit only about 4,500 houses before getting trapped in someone's living room, and those of us not living in the most advanced time zones are going to be very disappointed when our presents don't arrive.141.101.76.16 10:14, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Arthropods

Is it worth mentioning that humans are "arthropods" if you treat that as a word rather than a taxon? "Arthropod" is Latin for "jointed legs." We do have joints in our legs. 108.162.219.214 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Works with Alexa

Starting this year (2017) owners of Alexa devices could use the "NORAD tracks Santa" Alexa Skill. This was mentioned several times in the news, and I even set it up on my Amazon Echo so the little cousins could use it. Might this also be related? Bpendragon (talk) 16:51, 25 December 2017 (UTC)

Plural

This can also be a Pokémon reference, because all Pokémon have identical plural forms, e.g. "I caught two Pidgey today.", not "two Pidgeys". 108.162.219.10 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Lubricated

This could also be a reference to Santa being Intoxicated (also described as "Lubricated") a popular Meme on Holiday Cards. Its purpose here being connected either the belief that being drunk helps you survive injury (in this case, possible repeated falls down a chimney) [2]. This would also potentially add DUI to the list of possible charges. DaoFerret (talk) 19:59, 28 December 2017 (UTC)

Ribbed/lubricated may as well refer to the common double entendres on how the red, erect Santa is going up and down the chimney. 172.68.182.52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Lobster

The perception of Santa as a lobster may be a reference to the Danny Elfman song "Kidnap The Sandy Claws" from movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. The lyrics include "Wait! I've got a better plan / To catch this big red lobster man / Let's pop him in a boiling pot / And when he's done we'll butter him up" 162.158.59.214 23:58, 28 December 2017 (UTC)

Vampires

Current explanation talks about most versions of vampires needing to be invited in by the owner. I've actually never seen a vampire story with that rule, that it specifically has to be the owner. I've seen it where anyone LIVING THERE can invite them in, I think it's been more often that I've seen that any non-vampire who is inside the house can invite them in, and I'm pretty sure I've seen at least once where it's ANYBODY currently inside the house, including a vampire who has been invited in themselves. NiceGuy1 (talk) 09:09, 29 December 2017 (UTC)

Off the top of my head, The Vampire Diaries requires it to be the owner. Don't know about others.141.101.76.16 10:18, 3 January 2018 (UTC)
Well I haven't seen Vampire Diaries, so my statement stands, LOL! I'm certainly no expert, but I feel like most depictions are anybody who lives there, with the rest being any human in the house. I'm sure I've seen a scene where some oblivious dumbass (who doesn't live there and just happens to be present) does the inviting, and I recall a scene in True Blood (either 2nd season or late 1st) where a little girl who lived there - certainly not the owner - did the inviting.NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:57, 19 January 2018 (UTC)