Nanook of the North is a documentary film. Maybe the first. In the film, the viewer follows the inuit Nanook on an adventure of hunting and survival in the far north. Robert Flaherty, explorer and filmmaker, captured these events on film. It was a considerable task in 1920. Luckily, Flaherty was able to utilize a new portable cameras designed by American Museum of Natural History taxidermist Carl Akeley. The curious juxtaposition of film and wildlife has prompted many writers to consider the cinema as taxidermy. The original Nanook film burned in a fire at Flaherty's home. Flaherty returned to the north to film an improved second picture. All told, the film took several years to complete. Now, we can enjoy the life of the warm Nanook, surviving happily, forever locked in the mythic north. Happy Holidays.

How I Filmed Nanook by R. Flaherty



Pieter Breugel, HUNTERS IN THE SNOW from the Kunst-Historische Museum, Vienna

Leaving the city and back in the snow. Some tend the fires at home and are absorbed in their occupation. They're unaware of a quest beyond. The hunters have their task. They have a destination. They have a dark purpose. Their place is the mountains. Breugel the Elder

Breugel Documentary



Albrecht Durer's illustration of a walrus from his "Tagebuch der Reise in die Niederlande" ("Diary of of a journey in the Netherlands") drawn from memory of a dead walrus in the Dutch sea.



Greetings from Krampus. St. Nicholas has always operated on his "naughty or nice" policy, right? You get presents if you're nice, but what do you get if you're naughty? Some coal? Pretty weak. Not a great deterrent for naughty kids.

But throughout Austria and the Alps, there is a reason to be nice. Some pagan traditions continue to thrive. One is the legend of Krampus. St. Nicholas would make his rounds to all the houses to deliver gifts to children. But he had with him a constant companion- Krampus. If you were naughty, spoiled, or bratty, the wooly, goat horned Krampus would chase you and beat you with a switch. In some cases, he would take you home, cook you, and eat you.

Krampus has his own special day, December 5th. But Krampus festivities now run into the following weekend. Gangs of fellows dressed in furs, wooden masks, and horns, ransack Austrian towns, frightening young and old alike. Rush on over to Monster Brains for an avalanche of Krampus images and lore.



The first snow of winter in NYC. I feel reborn, as if woken from a great sleep. Like the Yeti emerging from his cave after a long summer's hibernation. Our furry friend, the Yeti, is back. Check boing boing for the details. Never mind the haters who claim he doesn't exist. Not true. He's out in the snow, mountain climbing, chilling with his buddhist monk buddies, and scaring the occasional sherpa. Drinking hot toddies. Check this blog for all the yeti love and then some.