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20 Questions with Santa Claus – Cape Breton Post

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

It’s been a difficult year all over the world and the North Pole is no exception.

“We had one small scare with COVID-19, but it was a false positive,” Santa Claus said. “(But) I really worried for people, especially the children, all around the world.”

He worried so much he thought he lost his laugh. He would try to say, “Ho ho ho,” but only one “Ho” would come out before he fell silent again.

“I was really stressed about it,” he said. “I thought I had lost my Christmas spirit.”

He walked through the woods alone, toward a shimmering wall of ice overlooking a crystal blue and green lake, collecting small sticks for kindling along the way.

“Near the water, I knew I’d hear an echo,” he said. “But even then, I’d say, ‘Ho,’ and only one ‘Ho’ would come back. It was very sad.”

One day, a scholarly young elf named Gerald Fudge — no relation to the crowd in Grand Falls-Windsor — came to Claus’s door unprompted.

“’Knock knock,’ Gerald said to me,” Claus said. “It was strange. Gerald is a very serious elf. But after he repeated, ‘knock, knock’ several times, I realized he was trying to tell a joke.

“Who’s there?” Claus asked.

“Interrupting reindeer,” Gerald said.

Claus almost felt sorry for Fudge. He looked both nervous and happy at the same time.

Claus tried to say, “Interrupting reindeer who,” but before he could get it all out, Fudge yelled a nasally, “MARMP MARMP,” which rattled the bells on the wreath over the mantel.

“At first, I just stared at him for what felt like a minute,” Claus said. “I mean, it didn’t even sound like a reindeer, to be honest. But suddenly I felt this tiny sensation in my big belly, like freshly blown bubbles rising into the air. It went up through my chest, onto my tongue and ‘Ho ho ho’ came roaring out of me. I couldn’t stop!

“It was the Christmas spirit. It had been there all along. I just needed help from a friend.”

The elves rocked on the candy cane swings in a steady rhythm and jumped on the gumdrop trampolines, which made the sound of giant drums. “It’s back,” the elves sang in a high tenor.

“What’s that?” the reindeer sang in their low bass.

“Oh, Santa’s Christmas spirit’s back!” everyone sang.

They took their slides down the whipped cream mountain and marched toward the workshop just as the whistle blew for the season.


1. What is your full name?

Some call me Saint Nicholas, Jolly Saint Nick or Father Christmas. Others call me Kris Kringle. But Santa Claus is just fine.

2. Where and when were you born? 

That’s hard to answer. I’m a man of the world, in the truest sense. I have always existed in one form or another, as the Christmas spirit is what I’m made of.

3. Where do you live today?

The North Pole — don’t listen to anyone who says different. It’s not Lapland. It’s the North Pole — end of story.

4. What’s your favourite place in the world?

Anywhere children are playing. As my old friend G. Stanley Hall put it, “People don’t quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they quit playing.”

5. Who do you follow on social media?

The elf Gerald Fudge, who I mentioned earlier, takes care of all that. He’s very scientifically minded, always walking around with a clipboard collecting data and crunching numbers. Personally, I just love to get handwritten letters from children all over the world. It’s so nice to see a child’s progress as they learn to read and write.

6. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

You know, I’m not too fond of coming down the chimney. Ho ho ho! It feels funny to actually admit it, and I’m certainly not trying to complain. But it would be nice to walk through the door once in a while.

7. What’s been your favourite year and why?

With every new year comes a new favourite year. I often stress about the next Christmas, but it keeps getting better and better.

8. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

In 1842, we landed on the roof of a small house in Austria. There were 26 children inside! How joyful a home it must have been. They were all very cozy. But trying to put the gifts under the tree without waking them up was very challenging. I accidentally tripped over a little boy named Sepp and nearly knocked down the tree, but the reindeers made some noise outside to distract them and they all ran to the window. They probably caught us flying away, but I don’t mind that so much.

9. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?

Meeting Mrs. Claus, my beloved. She keeps me focused on spreading joy, even when it seems like there is very little joy to spread around.

10. What’s your greatest indulgence?

Cookies and milk. You just can’t beat it.

11. What is your favourite movie or book?

Oh, it’s so hard to choose. I just love it when people use their imaginations. But then again, I love stories about the real world, too. There is so much to read, watch and learn about! I couldn’t possibly pick just one.

12. How do you like to relax?

I like to sit back in my rocking chair in front of the fire with a nice glass of milk. I get some of my best toy ideas listening to the crackling.

13. What are you reading right now?

Santasaurus,” by Niamh Sharkey. “Up on the Housetop,” a book illustrated by Wendy Edelson based on an old Christmas song, and “What Dogs Want for Christmas,” by Kandy Radzinski. Check out the links as I read them to children.

14. What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that children will lose their imagination, stop believing. That’s why I work hard every day to make sure Christmas is a time filled with wonder.

15. How would you describe your personal fashion statement?

My suit is more a matter of function than fashion. It’s very warm for those cold evenings, but it also buttons down for when I reach the warmer areas of the world. However, there is something pleasing to the eye when my hat whips around in the air as I fly through the sky on my sleigh.

16. What is your most treasured possession?

I would have to say my sleigh. It has gotten me through many challenges. It requires maintenance from time to time, and I do some upgrades here and there. Last year we installed a soft-leather seat. Elf Gerald Fudge proposed installing a GPS system to try to be more time-efficient on Christmas Eve. But I denied it. I like the old way. Despite the sleigh being hundreds of years old, it just keeps chugging along thanks to my wonderful reindeer.

17. What’s the first thing you do after you deliver the last gift and return to the North Pole?

Ensure the reindeer team is well-cared for, the sleigh is stored away, Mrs. Claus is tucked in comfortably, and then I pour a hot chocolate, get a hot bath going and check out The Telegram’s website.

18. Which three people would join you for your dream dinner party?

Oh my, oh my, these questions can be hard. Mrs. Claus and the first two children to come through my door, I would think. I could sit and listen to any child talk for hours.

19. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?

My Christmas spirit is my best quality. Sometimes it seems like there are people it doesn’t reach, but I still try. Maybe later there will be a little sparkle in their eye, a little dimple on their cheek or a little spring in their step when I’m not looking. I like to think so, anyway. Mrs. Claus always said I was a worrier. And I think with everything that happened this year, she’s been proven right, as she always is. But I try to take that worry and put it to good use by coming up with new toys and new ways to play so children will be happy.

20. What’s your favourite band?

It’s not my favourite type of music, but I have to say, the reindeer and some of the elves have put together a heavy metal band and they’re spectacular. They mostly do covers, but they’re really well-rehearsed. They’ve gone through a couple name changes. First, they were called “Toy Destroyer,” but now they’re called “Sleighbells of Doom.” I’m not much for the names. It’s too scary for me. But it’s all fun and games. And Rudolph can really shred.

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Mars and Uranus conjunction: How to see the planet's in the sky – Daily Express

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The relatively nearby Mars and the far out Uranus are adorning the night’s sky, and are visible right now. Mars is the planet next out behind Earth in the solar system’s pecking order, while Uranus is the seventh.

However, Uranus is a true giant of the solar system and can be spotted on a clear night when its orbit aligns with Earth’s.

Uranus is a staggering 2.9 billion kilometres from the Sun and takes 84 years to complete an orbit of the star.

The planet aligns with Earth roughly once a year, and this time around it can be seen travelling alongside Mars.

Mars, which has a similar orbit to Earth, has been travelling near to our planet for several months, but as Earth’s orbit is slightly smaller, it is currently outpacing the Red Planet.

Both planets are separated by just 1.75 degrees – with one degree being close to a thumb’s width held at arm’s length.

To spot the two planets, look in the southwest skies come nightfall.

Above the Moon, you will see a ‘star’ with a red hue, which is actually Mars.

As the Moon moves away from Mars, the planet will become more visible as there is less light pollution from our lunar satellite.

READ MORE: NASA InSight’s ‘mole’ fails mission after two years on Mars

“But Mars still shines on a par with the sky’s brightest stars.

“Uranus, on the other hand, is quite faint, well over 150 times fainter than Mars.

“Uranus is said to be the outermost of the sun’s planets visible with the eye alone.

“But seeing it with the eye requires a very dark sky, and probably no Moon (certainly no nearby Moon).”

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B.C. researchers find evidence of ancient predatory sand worms that were two metres long – National Post

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Article content continued

The trace fossils showed feather-like structures around the upper parts of the burrows, which the researchers believe would have been caused by the worms dragging their struggling prey under the ocean floor to eat them.

The lower, horizontal part of the burrow. Photo by Yu-Yen Pan /Simon Frazer University

The study’s lead author, earth sciences student Yu-Yen Pan, said the giant burrows are much larger than other trace fossils of ocean worms found in the past.

“Compared to other trace fossils which are usually only a few tens of centimetres long, this one was huge; two-metres long and two to three centimetres in diameter,” she said in a press release. “The distinctive, feather-like structures around the upper burrow were also unique and no previously studied trace fossil has shown similar features.”

The researchers say that these worms likely would have fed similarly to the bobbit worm, often called the “sand striker.”

Bobbit worms wait in their burrow for unsuspecting prey, then explode upwards, grabbing the prey in their mouths and pulling them back down into the sediment.

Field excursion at Yehliu, Taiwan. Photo by Masakazu Nara /Simon Frazer University

The researchers also found evidence that led them to believe the worms secreted mucus after each feeding that rebuilt and reinforced their burrows, allowing them to lie in wait for their next victim without being seen.

Pan and an international team that studies the ancient sea floor has named the homes of these worms Pennichnus formosae.

According to the study, previous research on Eunicid polychaetes, the family that these ancient worms and bobbit worms belong to, was limited because they only stuck a small portion of their bodies out from the ocean floor.

These trace fossils have allowed researchers to better understand the activity and habits of the ancient species.

Predatory ocean worms have existed for over 400 million years, and while these ancient burrows are long when compared to others that had previously been studied, giant marine worms are not just creatures of the ancient past.

Bobbit worms can grow up to three metres long themselves, and lay in their burrows just beneath the ocean floor today.

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B.C. researchers find evidence of ancient predatory sand worms that were two metres long – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Article content continued

The trace fossils showed feather-like structures around the upper parts of the burrows, which the researchers believe would have been caused by the worms dragging their struggling prey under the ocean floor to eat them.

The lower, horizontal part of the burrow. Photo by Yu-Yen Pan /Simon Frazer University

The study’s lead author, earth sciences student Yu-Yen Pan, said the giant burrows are much larger than other trace fossils of ocean worms found in the past.

“Compared to other trace fossils which are usually only a few tens of centimetres long, this one was huge; two-metres long and two to three centimetres in diameter,” she said in a press release. “The distinctive, feather-like structures around the upper burrow were also unique and no previously studied trace fossil has shown similar features.”

The researchers say that these worms likely would have fed similarly to the bobbit worm, often called the “sand striker.”

Bobbit worms wait in their burrow for unsuspecting prey, then explode upwards, grabbing the prey in their mouths and pulling them back down into the sediment.

Field excursion at Yehliu, Taiwan. Photo by Masakazu Nara /Simon Frazer University

The researchers also found evidence that led them to believe the worms secreted mucus after each feeding that rebuilt and reinforced their burrows, allowing them to lie in wait for their next victim without being seen.

Pan and an international team that studies the ancient sea floor has named the homes of these worms Pennichnus formosae.

According to the study, previous research on Eunicid polychaetes, the family that these ancient worms and bobbit worms belong to, was limited because they only stuck a small portion of their bodies out from the ocean floor.

These trace fossils have allowed researchers to better understand the activity and habits of the ancient species.

Predatory ocean worms have existed for over 400 million years, and while these ancient burrows are long when compared to others that had previously been studied, giant marine worms are not just creatures of the ancient past.

Bobbit worms can grow up to three metres long themselves, and lay in their burrows just beneath the ocean floor today.

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