1933: Santa Facts
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.
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. It is the third comic using Facts in the title.
This comic is reminiscent of the xkcd Phones series.
- 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. There is a Pokémon based on Santa, Delibird, although it is Ice/Flying instead of Flying/Psychic.
- The plural form of 'Santa' conveniently parallels that of 'reindeer' (as well as those of all species of Pokémon and the term "Pokémon" itself). 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 . "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.)
- The country being Panama may be a reference to the Panama Papers
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, Tom Vilsack.
- Assuming Tom Vilsack 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.
- 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. It is a tradition to leave out milk and cookies as a "gift" for Santa. 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.
- [An annotated picture of Santa is shown.]
- 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
- IUCN red list: Critically endangered
- Diet: 80% Reindeer
- Liability Insurance: None
- If the proposed line of succession from 2003: Presidential Succession is used in place of the real one, Santa's place in the line would correspond to either a person who does not live in Washington, D.C, nominated at the start of the President's term and confirmed by the Senate, if the five people have an order of succession between themselves, or the governor whose state is the most populous at the most recent census, if they take up a joint presidency.
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