christmas

Holiday Monsters & Listener Mail

Christmas is here again, so join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss a few holiday monsters and tend to your listener mail.

Give the Gift of a Mystery Box

Why are mystery packages so appealing? How do they improve our mental faculties and fuel our creativity? In this classic episode, Robert and Julie share tales of sealed envelopes, quantum thought experiments, virginity boxes and things Pandora should never have opened. You might even score a gift idea or two.

Scrooge: Post-traumatic Embitterment Disorder

Was Scrooge's bitterness an actual mental disorder? And was his visitation by the ghosts of the past, present and future his subconscious mind's attempt at DIY psychotherapy? Or did he merely spike his pot of gruel with a little mind-altering something-something?

Deconstructing the Grinch

Find out why the Grinch had the personality of a toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce. Robert and Julie explore the physiology of the Green One, not to mention his self-imposed social isolation, which may have contributed to the woefully diminutive size of his heart.

Monster of the Week: The Krampus

Monster of the Week: Of Grinch and Grendel

Monster of the Week: Gryla & Other Holiday Horrors

Robert blogs about GrĂ½la, the Grither and other Holiday monsters.

Carrot and Stick: A Genetic Santa Story

Santa or Krampus? Gifts or a stocking full of coal? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie look at negative and positive reinforcement and a new study that looks at the genetics behind each.

The Christmas War on Krampus

Since the Nazis were all about casting out Christianity and embracing the old gods, you'd think that German-speaking socialists of the 1930s would be cool with nasty old Krampus. But not so, according to a Dec. 23, 1934 New York Times article headlined "Krampus Disliked in Fascist Austria." Now remember, Nazi Germany didn't roll up Austria till 1938. Austrofascism was the rule of the day and, unlike the Nazis, they were heavily Catholic. According to the NYT article, the Austrian government outlawed Krampus entirely -- who, according to the article, had virtually usurped the role of prime gift giver from Santa at the time. It was the demon, not the old man, who mad the rounds with sweets and gifts.

The Science of Gremlins and Mogwai

The Science of Gremlins and Mogwai: Mogwai and Gremlins might seem the most unrealistic monsters of the 1980s, but nothing could be further from the truth. Join Robert and Julie as they dissect Gremlin/Mogwai biology and show you these creatures compare to the rest of the animal kingdom. Be sure to check out "How Mogwai and Gremlins Work" for all the info discussed in this episode.