SET is a publication of Listerhill
LI FES T Y L E - F I N A NC E - TEC H - TO W N
GRINCH • GRUBER • SCROOGE • FARKAS • MARTIANS
CHRISTMAS CAGEMATCHES! SET PICKS THE HOLIDAY’S BADDEST VILLIANS
HOLIDAY ISSUE WINTER 2012
e h T N W O D W LO
N W O D W O SH EPIC BATTLES OF EVIL BEHIND THE BEARD CONFESSIONS OF A MALL SANTA
IT’S A WRAP FREE SET MAGAZINE WRAPPING PAPER
EVIL-ER LAST ISSUE? ACCORDING TO THE MAYANS IT IS
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
I TOLD NICHOLAS CAGE HE SHOULD KEEP MAKING MOVIES AFTER CONAIR. IT STARTS WITH AN EARTHQUAKE P19 FEEDBACK
LET’S HEAR IT! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
FROM THE EDITOR
HAS THE APPLE FALLEN FAR FROM THE TREE?. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
HOW COMPETITION GIVES YOU WINGS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SET. I’m not sure what the whole story is, but the holidays are truly a magical season. It’s an oddly beautiful melting pot of tradition, history, religion, and even modern day commercialism. Its history represents how people of different nations, cultures and backgrounds can come together in the spirit of unity. It reflects how those who don’t normally run together can come together with a common bond. SET, like the holidays, provides a common bond for local young people. It’s a place to connect to each other and what’s going on around us, regardless of who you typically run with. So imagine SET like you would Christmas, but without Santa Claus, any reindeer, or elves - although we would welcome any elves that may want to get involved. We’ve already seen a spirit of unity surrounding SET, and it has been overwhelming to say the least.
CHRITMAS JUST AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE.. . . . . . . . . . . . . 8-9
The amount of response we’ve had with SET has been even more than we’ve expected. Since the Premiere launch in October, we’ve delivered over 8,500 copies and have been working with dozens of new contributors. It’s safe to say,
it’s catching on. This month’s issue features some of the best articles you would read anywhere. There’s always been an abunance of local talent, but it’s great to see SET play a part in showcasing and refining that talent. It’s an exciting project to be a part of and it’s wonderful to think we’re just getting started! We’ll see you next year.
MELISSA HAS SOLE AND WILL TRAVEL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
SOLES4SOULES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12-17
IT’S A WRAP
PERFECT FOR GIFTS OF ALL SIZES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13-16
MUSIC & CULTURE
FALL FASHION MUSTS FOR HIM AND HER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-19
SEE WHO WAS OUT AND ABOUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-21
WHO IS THAT SANTA GUY ANYWAY? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-23
STUDY HABITS TO WIN THE BATTLE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-25 THE SET STAFF
THE SHOWDOWN OF THE LOWDOWN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
STEPHEN JACKSON Tuscumbia, AL
KODI CHANDLER Caddo, AL
Muscle Shoals, AL
Muscle Shoals, AL
SET is a publication by and for local young people dedicated to lifestyle, finance, technology and community. It is published by Listerhill Credit Union as
part of its ongoing mission to promote the credit union philosophy of cooperation and financial literacy. It is a platform for 15-20 somethings in the community and it is free.
JAMES COCHRAN Danville, AL
JONATHAN OLIPHANT Fairhope, AL
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DAVID MCCREARY, @DAVIDMCCREARY “I really appreciated that the articles became more intensive as it went on. This layout of the articles led me to read the entire magazine. I didn’t stop after one.”
SARAH EMERSON, @SARAHANNEMERSON “The layout and the look is good like a traditional newspaper with a modern twist. The graphics and photos were appealing and really caught my eye. The articles were educating and entertaining; that’s hard to find nowadays. Overall, I felt that SET really appealed to my generation. I’m looking forward to the next issue.”
MARY DANIEL “It’s retro. The dots on the background make it different. I like how you pulled out big pieces of art like the pig and the iPhone. I like the highlighted sections in the articles and the bold headlines. The colors are aesthetically pleasing. One critique would be that some of the articles can get a little lengthy and condensing them would compel readers to continue throughout the magazine.”
PACE HOLDBROOKS, @THEPHOBRO “Anything with Aporkalypse written on it is going to catch my eye. The magazine itself is fun to read, because the articles have substance but don’t take themselves too seriously.”
JAVONNE BAKER “The pictures really captured my attention. I would like more articles spotlighting individuals.”
Estimated number of tablet users by 2014: 90 Million
INSERT DUBSTEP HERE.
MICROSOFT SURFACE SEEKS TO DETHRONE APPLE’S IPAD The iPad. The iPhone. The classic iPod. These Apple, Inc. devices have revolutionized the way businesses and private citizens find, save and share information. Somewhere along the path to creating these handheld products, Apple became a household name and altered the market composition for smart phones, tablets, and computing systems. The question remains: Who will dethrone the “king of handheld consumer electronics?” Enter Microsoft. Primarily known for its market dominance in software products, the company has boldly expanded its product range to include handheld tablets. Microsoft introduced the Surface to the consumer market this fall. Unlike the iPad, which was originally created to serve as an extension of an individual’s home computer or laptop, the Microsoft tablet was created as a standalone PC.
Microsoft co-released its new Windows 8 operating system with the Surface, as the upgraded Surface runs Windows 8 and is intended to be used as a personal computer all its own. However, Microsoft has a major deficit to close in order to match Apple’s success in the tablet market. Figures released by Apple in the Q4 report show the company sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The report also showed Apple grew its net sales from 108.2 billion to 156.5 billion over the previous year. Promising figures, right? These figures, while positive, fell short of the Apple’s growth projected by the Wall Street Journal. Two weeks later, Apple shares fell 4% on the day, eventually becoming the lowest share prices in the previous fivemonth window. Analysts blame much of the price drop on “unprecedented competition” in the tablet market. Having already made an impact on the market, Microsoft is gearing up for a major marketing push behind the Surface. However, many are skeptical that Apple has too much support from current consumers and app development teams for Microsoft to compete in the tablet market. Microsoft faced similar problems when it released its Zune mp3 device in 2008 to compete against the iPod. Four years later, millions still use their iPods, and hundreds of millions are wondering what in the heck a Zune even is. Only time will tell if the Surface is resigned to the same fate.
BY JAMES COCHRAN
‘12 Black Friday sales are up over 20% from ‘11
45% of people plan to buy gifts via the internet
IT’S A WONDERFUL STRIFE HOW COMPETITION EMPOWERS CONSUMERS Giving. It is the burden of the season. It is also the season of big meals, lavish gifts, and burning gasoline to see loved ones. It is enough to make anyone suspect Ol’ Saint Nick wants everyone to be broke after the holidays. So what can this season teach us about being smart with our money? Amongst the classic Christmas movies, there is one that teaches us how to give and be responsible. In Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, we are introduced to George Bailey, owner of a Building and Loan company in Bedford Falls. The only thing bigger than George’s ambitions is his giving spirit. In fact, he is so giving that George considers suicide so his family can reap his health insurance. Right before George dies, an angel saves him. The angel then shows George what Bedford Falls would have been like without him and his Building and Loan. What is a building and loan? A Building and Loan is a financial cooperative, similar to credit unions, where investors get higher savings interest, and loans are given at lower rates. The investors and the ones taking out loans are members owning shares in the business. The long-term investments are lent to people wishing to own their own home. When the homeowners pay the loan plus interest back, everybody benefits. Savings accounts get a higher return, and the average Joe and Jane can own their own home. These higher savings rates, and lower loan rates are a thorn in the side
GEORGE EXPLAINS HOW A COOPERATIVE WORKS. of the banks. Due to this competition, George Bailey is faced with some external conflict from the local banker, Mr. Potter. During the famous run on the banks scene, Mr. Potter takes advantage of the hysteria, and offers to buy Building and Loan shares from the members. George Bailey talks the scared members out of taking Mr. Potter’s deal by reminding the members where their money is. “You’re thinkin’ of this place all wrong as if I had the money back in the safe. The money is not here. Your money is in Joe’s house…and a hundred others. You’re lending them the money to build, and then they’re going to pay it back as best they can. What are you going to do? Foreclose on them?” – George Bailey The members’ savings are better
in the long-term investment at the Building and Loan rather than taking Mr. Potter’s deal. Why did mean old Potter want to buy control of George’s Building and Loan and rip people off? “It’s very simple,” said George Bailey, “because we’re cutting in on his business that’s why. Because [Mr. Potter] wants you living in his slums and paying the rent he decides.” If Building and Loans are so great, then where did they go? There are still a few Building and Loans, or Thrifts, around today, but not many. In 1979, The Federal Reserve doubled interest rates. In the end, this led to most Thrifts becoming bankrupt, or committing fraud. Despite the decline in Building and Loans, there are still
alternatives to banks. Credit Unions, like Building and Loans, are designed on the same business model of being a financial cooperative. They are able to provide higher savings rates, while offering competitively low loan rates. While it is better to give than receive during this holiday season, it is best to give AND receive year round. This is made possible by institutions like Building and Loans, Thrifts, and Credit Unions. Despite the FBI labeling It’s a Wonderful Life as a communist film, it actually encourages competition through capitalism, and how it can greatly benefit every person. So don’t be a Scrooge McDuck and support your fellow neighbor by supporting your local cooperative financial institution.
BY TRENT CRONIN
Krampus’s story begins back in the 1600’s. Legend has it that Krampus worked side-by-side with St. Nick, traveling around the world during the winter holidays. He was said to be the keeper of the naughty list. Before St. Nick resided at the North Pole and flew through the air in a sleigh, he would come to the homes of children with good behavior via chariot and horse with gifts. Alongside Santa was his dark companion who would scare the living daylights out of the bad little boys and girls in order to turn them into well-behaved little angels. He packed pretty lightly for his travels carrying a basket to haul off his prey, a long chain, pitchfork and a “bag of switches.” (I always wondered why my mom would threat me with a bag of switches for Christmas.) He would spank the children and snatch them up in his basket to take back to his dark lair. Once they reached their destination ol’ Kramp would torture the children until they repented of all their wrong doings. Scary, eh?
Back in the day, ou are probably thinking, “Who in the world is Krampus?” If you had grown up in the Alpine countries of central Europe, you would know. Some may say that if Santa was the good cop, then Krampus would be the bad. He is said to be the counterpart of jolly old Saint Nicholas. We all know the modern-day version of the big happy man in the red suit. However, the history behind the man with the hat leads into a whole realm of other characters and stories many of us have never heard. In fact, history is full of eccentrics created to counteract Santa’s jolly personality. A few include the French’s black-bearded fat man, Hans Trapp, the Dutch’s awkward Zwarte Piet, the Swiss’s broom carrying Schmutzli, and the German’s wimpy Knecht Ruprecht, who is an old man who beats kids with a bag of ashes (no … please … stop). However, the people of the Alpine region didn’t find these scary enough to make their naughty children behave. So they created the most intriguing and horrific of these characters: a hairy, demonic creature named Krampus.
being naughty had much more serious repercussions.
Many families would have friends or neighbors dress up as the Krampus and interview their children about their behavior. For obvious reasons, the Catholic Church discouraged the telling of Krampus to children, but his legend stayed alive in remote villages of the Alpine valleys. By the 1800’s, St. Nicholas Day was commemorated in many European countries on December 6th with large festivals held mainly for children. These celebrations stuck to the saint’s legendary reputation of bringing gifts to the children. However, in Alpine regions, the eve of this holiday was quite terrifying for young children. The evening of December 5th, Krampusnacht (or “Krampus Night”), was a time where towns people dressed in wooden masks with huge horns and costumes with fur. They would parade down the streets with bells often accompanied by other St. Nicholas characters. They would get in the faces of the children on the street scaring them into good behavior. These parades are now called
St. Nick and Krampus: A diabolical duo. Krampuslaufs (or “Krampus Runs”) and include hundreds of costumed Krampuses terrorizing the streets, fire twirlers, torches, saints and screams. (I urge you to look up footage of these events on Youtube.) A few decades into the 19th century, the printing of postcards made Krampus a holiday pop-culture icon. Scary postcards of him stealing or whipping children were made often with the phrase, “GRUSS VOM KRAMPUS”, which means “Greetings form Krampus”. (At least he was friendly about his terrorizing.) Some of these cards were even so bold as to have images of Krampus making sexual passes at women. Many countries banned the ppostcards and any Krampus-ious bbehavior h during d World War I. However, once the war was over, Krampus made his vengeful return to Europe. This legend has molded the behaviors of children in the Apline region for centuries and continues to live in the 21st Century. In fact, Krampus is starting to move into America. Philadelphia and Portland, OR have had Krampus celebrations over the past few years. Who knows, maybe his fame will thicken in the U.S., and the legend of Krampus will haunt you on Krampusnacht. If the story of Krampus isn’t enough to send chills down your spine, maybe his appearance will. He was known to be seven feet tall and covered in black hair. He had a face like a demon and a tongue comparable to KISS’s Gene Simmons. The horns on his head grew to enormous lengths and curved to a point. His feet were a mix of a bear claw and a cloven-hoof. Many see Krampus as the earliest forms of our modern-day images of the Christian devil.
WHO IS THE KING OF THE HOLIDAY VILLAINS?
Find out! PAGE SET RATES THE WORST
10 HOMETOWN HEROES
Soles4Soles has delivered 19 million pairs of shoes.
Only 400 pairs of the Ueno Panda Dunk were ever produced.
Learn how to host a shoe drive @ getsetmag.com
SOLE PURPOSE MELISSA’S LIFE IS BIGGER THAN HER OWN Melissa Bain had no clue that the words, “We need to go to Haiti” would change her life forever. Melissa is a Muscle Shoals native and currently resides in the McFarland RV Park. Some would find her living situation a little odd, but it was an amazing journey that got her there and her heart to serve that keeps her going.
In August of 2010, following a catastrophic earthquake, Melissa and her husband, Heath, teamed up with Soles4Souls on a mission trip to Haiti to help those that were impacted. Initially, Melissa was hesitant about going on the trip, and she looked for every possible way out. What she found was that no matter the excuse, there was always an answer and a reason for her to go. Because of that, Melissa knew that she was being called to Haiti with a purpose. The things she saw and the people she met changed her outlook on life forever. Shortly after their return to the United States, Melissa and Heath were approached by the Soles4Souls organization about taking on the role of RV spokesperson(s) - traveling the US in an RV while sharing with others
MELISSA BAIN, SOLES4SOULS the mission of Soles4Souls. Without hesitation, they agreed. Since their travels, and Heath’s passing, Melissa has been living on the RV continuing to go from one place to another to tell her story and develop interest in Soles4Souls. She has recently been presented with the opportunity to be a Travel Coordinator for the organization with her first distribution trip consisting of members of the Shoals community. In 2013, Melissa will be taking 2025 people from the Shoals area to
Guatemala to deliver shoes and work with other outreach missions in the villages. This trip is the first of its kind for the organization’s community travel program. Melissa’s passion to continue working for others comes from her heart and her experiences in life. “I want for nothing. To see poverty or need… you can’t see that and walk away. My life has to have meaning and I want to live a life bigger than my own.”
BY BETHANY OLIVER
NON PROFIT OF THE MONTH 11
The US accounts for half of the world’s shoe revenue. About $20 billion worth.
A SINGLE SHOE
CHILDREN IN HAITI
CHANGING THE WORLD ONE PAIR OF SHOES AT A TIME. Soles4Souls is a nonprofit organization based out of Nashville, Tennessee that collects new shoes to give to the victims of abject suffering, and used shoes to give to micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty. There are three divisions of Soles4Souls: Clothes4Souls, Hope4Souls and Travel4Souls. Clothes4Souls facilitates the donations of new clothing from manufacturers, retailers and designers and gently worn clothing from the public to give to people around the world who are in desperate need. Hope4Souls is about helping communities that are suffering from natural disasters and poverty through donations of items such as toys, building materials and furniture. Travel4Souls is about creating life-changing experiences, such as the one Melissa had, by providing opportunities for people to travel and distribute shoes in developing countries. The vision of this organization
came to founder, Wayne Elsey, during the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia. Elsey knew immediately that he wanted to make an impact but did not know how until he saw the television image of a single shoe washing up on the beach. That image triggered some phone calls to executives in the footwear industry and was followed by a subsequent donation of a quarter of a million shoes to victims in the devastated countries. A few months following the tsunami, hurricane Katrina hit, calling Elsey to contact the same executive friends. Again, significant donations were made. Because of the successful turnouts, Soles4Souls was formally created one year later. Since its establishment, the organization has delivered more than 19 million shoes to over 125 countries. 100% of all of the shoes donated to Soles4Souls are sustainable and more than 99% of them are given to help those in need. Less than 1% of the donations that cannot be used are directed to a waste-to-energy facility where they are used to produce environmentally clean and renewable energy. The overall concept of Soles4Souls is simple: to change the world one pair of shoes at a time. For more information on how to get involved, Melissa Bain can be contacted via email at MelissaB@giveshoes.org. Information provided by www.soles4souls.org.
BY BETHANY OLIVER
DECEMBER 5 - JANUARY 7 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
ALL DECEMBER WRIGHT’S CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Bobby Wright in Spring Valley, AL that has a collection of Christmas lights in their yard since 1971. GALAXY OF LIGHTS is every night 5:30-9pm at the Huntsville Botanical Garden. Ticket prices can be purchased on hsvbg.org. This “larger than life” light show captures many elements of Christmas and is perfect for the holiday season.
DECEMBER 6 THE NUTCRACKER Presented by OCR/Shoals Dance Academy, Norton Auditorium, Florence, AL from 10amnoon; 7-9pm CHRIS YOUNG Von Braun Center Civic Arena, Huntsville, AL, 7:30pm
DECEMBER 7 THE WICKETS’ CHRISTMAS SPECIAL An Improv Comedy show with skits, audience participation, and lots of laughs! www. facebook.com/ItsTheWickets The Zodiac Theatre, 7:30pm THE LUCAS CATES BAND Performs at On the Rocks, Florence AL 5TH ANNUAL HIGHLAND BAPTIST LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE Free Admission, Highland Baptist Church, Florence, Ala, 7pm FANTASY PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS A CHRISTMAS CAROL Student Tickets are $14 students (17 and under) & $20 for adults. Located at the Von Braun Center Playhouse from 7-9pm.
DECEMBER 8 HUNTSVEGAS INVASION
HOME ALONE Viewing at the historical Birmingham Theater. Purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com Bands from Huntsville play at The End in Florence, AL, 7pm JOE WHEELER STATE PARK ANNUAL BOAT PARADE OF LIGHTS Free Admission, 6pm
THE ROCKET CITY MARATHON, Huntsville, AL Mile sponsorships provide high visibility, high energy and hands on participation during the Rocket City Marathon. Come out and support your community and your employees as they run the Rocket City Marathon.
THE LUCAS CATES BAND Performs at On the Rocks, Florence AL
UNA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL VS. PAINE Flowers Hall, Florence, AL 1pm
UNA MEN’S BASKETBALL VS. TENNESSEE TEMPLE Flowers Hall, Florence, AL 3pm 5TH ANNUAL HIGHLAND BAPTIST LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE Free Admission, Highland Baptist Church, Florence, Ala, 7pm
IF YOU HAVE ANY EVENTS YOU WOULD LIKE LISTED, EMAIL CALENDAR@GETSETMAG.COM
DECEMBER 9 CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK The city of Arab is hosting their annual Christmas light show at City Park from 6-9:30pm.
Send your events to CALENDAR@GETSETMAG.COM
5TH ANNUAL HIGHLAND BAPTIST LIVING CHRISTMAS TREE Free Admission, Highland Baptist Church, Florence, AL, 3pm & 7pm
DECEMBER 13 HOME ALONE Viewing at the historical Birmingham Theater. Purchase tickets at ticketmaster.com AN ATHENS CHRISTMAS First Baptist Church is hosting their annual Christmas Program. Free Admission, 6pm
RUDOLPH RUN 5K, Huntsville, AL The gun sounds at 8am.
DECEMBER 21 THE SPRINGS Perform at FloBama, Florence, AL, 10pm
RECOVER FROM THE HOLIDAYS 50K, Huntsville, AL Wrap up the year with all of your running friends! Recover From The Holidays is an old fashion, no-frills, low-cost 50Km run each year on New Years Eve at the Huntsville Cross Country Running Park.
DYLAN LEBLANC W/ SPENCER MURPHY 7 O’Clock @ The End Theater $8 Advance, $10 @ the door
NEW YEARS IN NASHVILLE Travel to Music City and bring in the New DECEMBER 30 Year on the streets of Broadway as the guitar UNA MEN’S BASKETBALL VS. SUN GEORGIA is lowered. Southwestern JANUARY 1 Florence, AL 3pm
NCAA DII CHAMPIONSHIP Kickoff is 10am at Braly Municipal Stadium, Florence, AL Purchase tickets at ncaa.com/ tickets
14TH ANNUAL MILLENNIUM RUN, Killen, AL The 5K course consists of two different rolling loops which wind through downtown Killen. Course maps will be provided on race day. The Fun Run is a 1-mile out and back course.
1/2/4 MILE CONCURRENT NEW YEAR’S FUN RUNS, Huntsville, AL
WEST SIDE STORY Von Braun Center, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, Huntsville, AL
Presented by the Broadway Theatre League at 8pm. Call BTL at 256.518.6155 for ticket information.
WEST SIDE STORY Von Braun Center, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, Huntsville, AL Presented by the Broadway Theatre League at 2pm & 8pm. Call BTL at 256.518.6155 for ticket information.
JANUARY 6 WEST SIDE STORY Von Braun Center, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall, Huntsville, AL Presented by the Broadway Theatre League at 2pm & 7:30pm. Call BTL at 256.518.6155 for ticket information
18 MUSIC & CULTURE
Listen to this playlist online at getsetmag.com
DON’T BE A PRUNE, I’M THE HOTTEST DATE IN TOWN.
OUR FAVORITE HOLIDAY CLASSICS It’s the time of year when stores give their easy listening and elevator music a break and begin playing the sounds of the season. Songs about snow, warm fuzzy feelings, silver bells, Christmas trees, and jolly ol’ St. Nick fill the airwaves. And while some musicians have attempted to write new, modern songs for the holidays, it’s the songs that have been around since before our parents were born that remain at the top. They are the songs we have tied to our fondest memories, and each year when we hear those familiar tunes, we are taken back to the days when we couldn’t sleep on Christmas Eve in anticipation of what the morning would bring. So, in the spirit of nostalgia and all that is Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of our contributors’ favorite holiday tunes and give them to you as a playlist for the holiday season. Enjoy.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Bing Crosby & Doris Day -Laura Bethea Merry Xmas (War is Over) by John Lennon –Kodi Chandler Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra -Dustin Varner Sleigh Ride by Amy Grant –Amy Jackson It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble -Will Riley White Christmas by Bing Crosby -Stephen Jackson Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by James Taylor -Jonathan Oliphant Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by The California Raisins -Bethany Oliver I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas (Home Alone version) by The Drifters-James Cochran I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm by Dean Martin -Elisabeth Claytor Emmanuel by The Ray Brothers -Trent Cronin
BY ELISABETH CLAYTOR
MUSIC & CULTURE 19
There are 20 different Mayan calendars
Share your bucket list on Twitter @getsetmag
IT STARTS WITH AN EARTHQUAKE The inspiration of Adele’s latest album, 21, followed a recent break-up. I doubt she can emotionally handle another, but the world is anxiously awaiting her next album. I’m going to set fire to the rain by breaking up with Adele. With only three weeks to inspire, write, and record, I’ve got to be smooth. #RileyStyle. Be on the lookout for Adele’s newest record, 24, to drop sometime before D-Day.
3. TEACH AN INDIAN RINGNECK PARAKEET TO SING “INDIAN OUTLAW” BY TIM MCGRAW.
the dirt under Moses’ fingernails, does not let his age affect the “Sudden Impact” of his memorable quotes. “Get off my lawn” became his signature phrase to the Millennials, and we are still talking about it. Finger-gunning with the old guy would “make my day.” After he kicked me off his lawn, that is. This list does appear to be quite a feat to finish in less than a month, but if Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson can travel to Hong Kong and hire a “street professional”, then I should be able to cross off most of this list.
With my bewildered sense of humor, this would easily gain a few million hits and kill on YouTube. Why not make an easy buck?
LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING
SEVEN THINGS TO DO BEFORE I KICK THE BUCKET According to the Mayan calendar, the clock is ticking and I have until December 21, 2012 to complete my bucket list. I’ve stopped collecting cans, started preparing for the end of the world, and have surrendered to the inevitable, impending doom preparing to gash this world’s Titanic. Since, I have no intentions of being a hero (remember what happened to Jack Dawson), I might as well have some fun living the American dream and completing my bucket list while everyone else is freezing their organic milk and stocking up on MRE’s.
1. SIT IN WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON’S JAZZ BAND.
I was filtering through my list and found an easy starter: sit-in with President Clinton’s jazz band, the Three Kings. The legendary jazz trio claims they “swing pretty hard with some cool jazz” and have been rocking high school auditoriums for years.
2. BREAK-UP WITH ADELE TO INSPIRE A NEW RECORD.
4. STEP IN FOR A WASTED EDDIE VEDDER TO SING YELLOW LEDBETTER AT A PEARL JAM CONCERT.
My music taste varies, but I never get tired of grunge. It was a brief time in the history of music but unforgettable, to say the least. Pearl Jam has been labeled as “the most popular American Rock’n’Roll band of the ‘90’s” (as mentioned in their documentary). There would be no greater accomplishment than to take the lead on stage while EMTs are working to pump the stomach of a rock legend. After my many years of impersonating Christian Bale as Batman, trying to emulate Eddie’s guttural noises should be a piece of cake.
5. ASK BILL PAXTON FOR HIS BELT AND SURVIVE A TWISTER.
Bill Paxton is the only person in the world whose belt has a bigger following than the actual wearer. This isn’t technically tornado season, but it’s worth the adventure. Oklahoma, here I come! By the way, I’m more of a Jami Gertz kind of guy.
6. EAT GOLDMOUTH’S CORNBREAD.
I’m no “Can’t Get Right”, but I will sure perform any ludicrous act at the chance for copious amounts of cornbread. And yes Goldmouth, even if that means eating all of yours.
7. FINGER-GUN WITH CLINT EASTWOOD.
Clint Eastwood is my favorite director, spaghetti Western star and political analyst. Not many people on this planet can make a ghost chair go viral on social media. Every time he shoots a gun, he hits his target. Let’s not forget his unbelievable role in “Gran Torino”. Clint Eastwood, a man older than
BY WILL RILEY
Dear World, The Mayans predicted it and I’m starting to believe it. The world’s end is December 21, 2012, and we’re awfully close to it. Let’s recap, shall we? The bacon is running out, Bama lost to “Johnny Football”, The Civil Wars broke up, and Mickey Mouse is now a Jedi. With the sudden sequence of recent events, I can’t help but think the demise is partially my fault. That being said, I feel that I need to confess some the wrong I’ve done throughout my years. I need to lay them all out and get this Earth-sized weight off my chest. • I was Taylor Swift’s first and third boyfriend. We were “Fifteen.” • I told Nicolas Cage he should keep making movies after Con Air. So essentially Bangkok Dangerous, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, National Treasure 2, and Ghost Rider are entirely my fault. I’m really sorry about that. • I installed Napster on Lars Ulrich’s computer. Who knew? • I designed Janet Jackson’s wardrobe for SuperBowl XXXVIII. Actually … I’m not sorry about that one. Here it is, World. Hate me. The good Lord knows I deserve it. Love, Dustin Varner
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PHOTOS BY AMY JACKSON, ABRAHAM ROWE AND GLENN BEVIS
EMILY AND CARRA-ELLEN RUSSEL
MAGGIE AND DANIEL CRISLER
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JAKE AND RACHEL RUSSELL
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22 SPECIAL FEATURE
The average mall Santa weighs 257 lbs - how jolly!
Get more mall Santa stats exclusively online.
BEHIND THE BEARD
JACKIE BEHEL IS THE REAL DEAL.
CONFESSIONS OF A MALL SANTA
SPECIAL FEATURE 23
Each year roughly $3M is spent on photos with Santa. The sign in front of the store said it all: “Santa Here: 12pm.” Inside, a large, green velvet chair was sitting empty while an employee filled plastic cups with apple cider on a card table. Another card table had a plastic pan of unappetizing, mass-produced Christmas cookies, the ones with the colored sugar that falls into your shirt and turns your mouth red or green. Typical. “He’s in back,” the cashier told me, so I headed through the door marked Employees Only. The stockroom looked like a forest made of cardboard, and in a small clearing in the middle, there sat none other than Kris Kringle. He was holding a cup of McDonald’s coffee and smiled sheepishly as I barreled through the door. I had come prepared to interview a generic mall Santa about having a holiday temp job, but the twinkle in his eyes disarmed me. I had come hoping that he would tell me he likes to gamble, or use his Santa status to get pretty women to sit in his lap, or that in the off-season he rides his Harley to the bar with other mall Santas. I had come to dig up some dirt on this imposter of a man before me, pretending to live the legend of Saint Nicholas. But here we were in a back stockroom in Regency Square Mall: him sitting in a folding chair drinking coffee and me, trying to fight the urge to tell him what I wanted for Christmas. I had a feeling that my sarcasm angle was dead on arrival. His hair and beard were all real. His cheeks were full and rosy, and his blue eyes glistened behind his black circular bifocals. Although he loves Christmas cookies, he wasn’t fat; but he wasn’t skinny either, just the perfect size for lap-sitting. The suit was high quality velvet with lush faux fur trim and a thick leather belt with a golden buckle. Nothing like the Halloween costume I was expecting to see. “Are you here for the interview?” His voice was sweet and slow, with a thick North Alabama accent. His name is Jackie Behel. He is 62 years old and lives in Central. He has kept his hair and beard long for about 20 years, but he didn’t play Santa until his daughter asked him to be Santa at her hair salon fifteen years ago. He bought his first suit from Santa’s Closet, the group in charge of hiring the Santa for Regency Square Mall.
They were so impressed with his look they asked him to join their regular rotation of professional Santas. He’s been the official mall Santa in Florence for over a decade and was invited to be a member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santa Clauses. He was really convincing, and really screwing up my story. “I’m retired and disabled, so I do it and if they want to pay, they do, and if they don’t they don’t. I just enjoy doing it,” he drawled, when I asked him about the pay scale. Crap, he volunteers as Santa. No dirt there. I moved on to memorable moments. “I believe it was last year when the kid came up wanting her mama, [who] was in the service. They had timed it so that [the daughter] had come in looking one way and the mother came up behind her, so of course everybody got [emotional].” And it was right then that I felt my Grinchsized heart grow three sizes. “That’s so sweet,” I croaked. And then a strange moisture formed around my eyes. Am I crying?!?! Did a MALL SANTA just make me cry?!?! What is wrong with me?!?! I needed some comedic relief. “What is the most awful part of the job?” I blubbered. “It’s just bad when their mamas want to get a picture regardless and they are a kickin’ and a screamin’. I don’t like that.” Not good enough. “Have you been thrown up on peed on or pooped on?” “Well, I’ve been wet on a time or two.” Better. But by the tone of his voice I could tell he didn’t care that much. Still no dirt. I asked about his family in hopes that would lead me somewhere. “I got one [grandkid] that’ll tell you that I am Santa Claus,” he said. So even his immediate family believes he’s the real deal. My angle was officially dead. “I even went to a friend’s house on Christmas day and brought gifts over to his grandkids. Of course a couple of the grownups got left out and I had to tell them that they were naughty!” He rocked back in the folding chair and chuckled a deep “Heh Heh Heh” into the air above him. I would venture to say that “Heh, Heh, Heh” is North Alabamanese for “Ho, Ho, Ho.” Game Over. He’s the real deal. “There ought to be more of us,” he mused. “I mean, if you like talking to kids. But you gotta enjoy it. Heh
28% of people regift.
Heh Heh.” I couldn’t have agreed more. There should be more people in the world like him. People who can take the critical, skeptical, too-coolfor-school cynics like me and turn us into the kind of people who tear up in a stock room in Regency Square Mall at the joy of simple gifts: Love. Family. Hope. In my case, Grace. That’s the real Santa. Everybody has their own Santa, in different shapes, ages and sizes, but he/she exists just as sure as mass-produced Christmas cookies and tired velvet chairs exist. Jackie Behel, the humble volunteer-of-a-Santa with his wonderfully rosy cheeks and earnest demeanor crumbled my disbelief. I wasn’t an all-knowing pretend journalist after all. Santa had become (and still is) as real as he was to me as a child. Isn’t that is the point of Santa and the holidays, after all? That believing that something impossible can actually happen? That the oil lamps lasted eight days when they were only supposed to last
one? That God came to earth as a baby? That Peace and Goodwill and Charity can thrive in the midst of our dog-eat-dog society? We concluded the interview, and as I turned to leave, I said, “Merry Christmas to you, Jackie!” He laughed and said, “Now, don’t forget about Thanksgiving! Too many people want to be in a hurry to forget about Thanksgiving.” I barreled back through the Employees Only door, past the card tables of apple cider and out into the mall. I truly was thankful for the man I had met that day. I had come to the cardboard forest to expose the real Santa Claus, but in the end Santa Claus exposed the real me. And for the first time in literally decades, I can’t wait for Christmas Eve. I will leave some cookies (his favorite) and milk out under my tree and keep an ear out to hear that magical sound, “Heh, Heh Heh!!!”
BY LAURA BETHEA PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY JACKSON
24 COLLEGE LIFE
In 1961, college students studied 24 hrs per week
READING = SLEEPY, COFFEE = AWAKE.
THE ART OF STUDYING LATE AND LAST MINUTE If you are a college student you’ve been there. It’s 8 pm the night before that semester final that you just remembered/discovered/was told that you had. You open up your laptop. Trying your very hardest not to open tabs to Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and The Awesomer (in that order), you might actually get some work done. Your door opens and slams shut, your roommate is either drunk or just got a copy of Halo 4. Even your loudest headphones won’t be able to drown out the sounds of him slaying aliens and blaring Skrillex. You realize that no work will get done in your dorm. It’s gonna be an all-nighter, right? WRONG. Although
college culture says otherwise allnighters are unhealthy and will hurt your exam grade more than anything. However, the “Almost All-Nighter” is academic manna. Time is closing in and you don’t know where to go. Here are a few places I’ve found to be a safe haven when it comes down to the line:
RIVERTOWN COFFEE CO.
Have you been whining about the lack of Starbucks? There are better places to get your soy pumpkin spice latte. Located in downtown Florence next to the Shoals Theatre, Rivertown has a very conducive environment for the young person’s study habits. It’s cozy, WiFi enabled, has a large menu of specialty drinks, and a variety of couches and tables to work. You are gonna pass this test. Pros: Fresh coffee and great atmosphere Cons: Larry may want to help you study Hours: Closes at 10 Mon-Thu, 11 on Fri-Sat. Location: 117 N. Seminary Street
3RD FLOOR COLLIER LIBRARY
It’s quiet. There’s no talking on this floor. In fact, any sound in general might be prohibited. If you are having trouble with the WiFi, I’ve found it’s best to walk with your laptop open to
COLLEGE LIFE 25
Today’s student studies 14 hrs per week
STUDYING YOU STUDYING ME the center of the building, connect to Lion_Air, then make your way back to your desk. Floors 1-3 have study rooms for students to check out, but they do not have any air circulation for your stinky feet.
quiet to study. There is always one place you can go. Your car is always fairly close and is the ultimate portable study room. Look, it’s not glamorous, but you don’t really have another choice at this hour.
Pros: Disturbingly quiet Cons: Haunted Location: That big building on campus with all of the books in it Hours: Closes at 1 AM Mon-Thu. 4:30 PM on Sat, 5 PM on Sun. Open 24 Hours on Study Day (Dec 6) Note: The second floor is also a good study area, but is constantly dwelled by the ghosts that escape from the Archives/Special Collections.
Pros: You get to choose the song Cons: Space is very limited here Hours: 24/7 Location: Your Driveway / UNA’s Parking Deck.
The McDonalds booth is a surprisingly great place to study. I have seen people set up everything in their booth from external keyboards to printers, so take anything and everything you think you might need. The lobby is open until midnight which means you will be able to gorge yourself on a few McDoubles and coffee before you get kicked out. It is generally not too loud, but be sure to isolate yourself from all other late night customers that will wander in. Pros: Quick Access to McDoubles Cons: Quick Access to McDoubles Hours: Lobby until Midnight Location: 1115 N. Wood Ave (Seven Points)
It’s 3AM, everything in Florence has said goodnight, but not you. You are on a warpath and you need somewhere
ON THE JOB
You’re a working man/woman. You don’t have time to go to a cozy library to study for your finals. You’re working two jobs, in nursing school, and a volunteer at the local animal shelter. What do you do? Bring your study materials with you. Don’t want to tote a 2000 page medical book with you? Try using StudyBlue. This free website allows you and your t̶e̶a̶m̶m̶a̶t̶e̶s̶ classmates to study using each others notes. I’m typically not one for these sort of web applications, but it allows you to create flashcards from a huge database of other college student’s material or create your own from scratch. Best part? It’s free and has a free Apple/Android App. Christmas come early, y’all. Pros: Extra productive Cons: Not the greatest employee move Hours: See work schedule Location: See work schedule NOTE: Some (most) employers will not take kindly to this method and may forcibly free up some time for you.
BY JONATHAN OLIPHANT
Ron Howard’s Grinch movie cost over $115 million.
THE CAGEMATCH CHRISTMAS VILLAIN ROYALE: LOWDOWN SHOWDOWN
A Christmas Story inspired a show: The Wonder Years. from severe old age, which as left him confined to a wheelchair. All he needs to do is look up his nearest mercenary and, BOOM! He’s got a shot at winning the title. Potter is known for making George Bailey consider suicide on Christmas Eve. Scrooge also has wealth and power. But unlike his opponent, he has one more thing… more wealth. Sometimes he’s even portrayed as an old, monocled duck diving into a pool of gold coins. Scrooge’s hatred for Christmas has driven him to make poor Bob Cratchet work Christmas Eve, (and almost Christmas Day)! The Victor: Old Man Potter. This was a tough one, folks. They are both nasty, greedy, evil men, but making a man consider suicide is a pretty awful thing to do, especially on the eve of our most beloved holiday. Also, in the end, Scrooge let all his workers off on Christmas Day and became a changed man, so that’s a big deduction of evil points.
Christmas time is finally here. Chestnuts are a roastin.’ People everywhere are dreaming of a white Christmas, and somewhere in a field in Connecticut, Christmas villains are duking it out to see which one of them will be named this year’s Kristmas Krashing King! (I’m guessing). Here is a line-up of a few of the battles and who reigns victorious in each.
HANS GRUBER VS. THE GRINCH
KRAMPUS VS. THE MARTIANS In this tussle of tinsel terrors, kidnapping is the name of the game. Each one of these noel naysayers is especially talented at kidnapping. Here’s the rundown: Krampus is a creepy mythical Germanic creature that tags along with Old Saint Nick. It has a distinctive skill involving the kidnapping of naughty children. He also wields tree branches with which he beats the bad kids. The Martians, (from the incredibly terrible movie, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians), are guilty of kidnapping the jolly man himself, Santa Claus! They are also armed with what look to be ray guns, and other Martiany technology. The Victor: Krampus. Yes, the Martians have their fancy technology and their ray guns, but they were defeated entirely too easily by two children in their movie. Also, Krampus eats the children he kidnaps. Oh! Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, he EATS them.
OLD MAN POTTER VS. EBENEZER SCROOGE When it comes to money, Mr. Potter, (It’s a Wonderful Life), and Ebenezer Scrooge have a lot of it, and as the saying goes: when you have a lot of money, you can hire other people to fight your battles for you. (I think that’s how it goes). Mr. Potter has wealth and power at his disposal. This is good because he suffers
These two Yuletide haters both hate Christmas, only one seems to hate it a little more than the others. For this reason I’m not even going to bother going into detail on their deeds. The Victor: The Grinch. He freakin’ stole Christmas! While Hans Gruber did try to steal hundreds of millions of dollars, and killed a man in cold blood at a Christmas party, it just doesn’t stand up to the emotional trauma the Grinch caused all of Whoville. (Points were given and deducted for Hans Gruber’s realness and the Grinch’s heart growth respectively).
SCUT FARKUS AND GROVER DILL (A CHRISTMAS STORY) VS. HARRY LYME AND MARTY MERCHANTS (HOME ALONE) This contest is between two teams of two. Dos duos, if you will. In one corner you have a pair of thieves, and in one of those other corners there stands a pair of mean Christmas bullies. Harry and Marty’s love for stealing from houses whose occupants are away on Christmas vacation is matched only by their love for flooding said houses. On top of that they harassed an eight year old boy. Scut and Dill are two preteen bullies who prey on younger kids, throw snowballs at them and then chase them home with all the speed and grace of a Benny Hill scene. Christmas time is no exception for these two. Victor: Harry and Marty. Scut and Dill are just punk kids. Their greatest weapons against Christmas are tiny little fists and spherical frozen water. Plus Harry and Marty put forth a great deal of effort to catch a kid, and even though they didn’t capture him, think about what they could have done after that. (Evil? I think yes).
BY STEPHEN JACKSON
ALL PHOTOS ARE WITHIN THE TEXT BUT DO NO MATCH THE FLOW OF TEXT AND CONTAIN A CUTLINE
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