Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Books · The Science of Santa
. . . .

The Science of Santa

Erin Crowell - December 13th, 2010
The Science of Santa : Flight of the Reindeer celebrates 15th anniversary edition
By Erin Crowell
Santa Claus is real.
We knew it when we were five and if we’re lucky, we know it now.
Being a young believer, I thought I had the answer around age five, playing in the snowy yard of my parent’s farmhouse—a few days past Christmas—when I looked up and saw a mark on the side of the chimney: a wet spot only a fat man could make brushing his snow-covered belly against the brick.
“It’s not from Santa,” my sister had said, rolling her eyes.
Despite her having three years of life experience on me, I remained confident that the Man in Red had lapsed in caution, leaving evidence of his existence (other than a trail of cookie crumbs).
It was a moment that brought the stars a little closer to earth and the magic surrounding Christmas shine a bit brighter -- and it has stuck with me to this day.
Maybe you have had one of these aha! moments...maybe you’re a doubter – a left-brained logical since birth. After all, how could one man circle the globe and deliver gifts to all the world’s children in one night?
With flying reindeer, of course.

DOCUMENTED MAGIC
15 years have passed since Robert Sullivan wrote “Flight of the Reindeer,” but the book that claims to give “The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission” has re-emerged as a sound source to believers everywhere – in the form of a 15th anniversary edition.
“I have to say that before I got the call (from Sullivan) I did not know much about Santa and the team,” said Glenn Wolff, illustrator for “Flight of the Reindeer.” “Oh, I had heard the stories, seen the TV specials, and happily opened the presents, but like any young artist discovering the cold cruel world of survival in the ‘90s, I began to doubt my once solid beliefs.”
In 1995, while working in his Traverse City studio, Wolff got a phone call from Sullivan in New York City.
“He said he had written a story about Santa Claus, the truth about his Christmas Mission, and the secret of flying reindeer…and went on to say he thought I was just the artist to map the North Pole, Santa’s Christmas Eve flight routes and show how caribou antlers are aerodynamic.
Despite initial doubt, Wolff said he changed his mind quickly after a lunch meeting with Sullivan and his wife in New York’s Greenwich Village.
“He made a compelling case, laying out much of the ‘evidence’ and in no time I was convinced and signed on to the project,” said Wolff.

ABOUT THE BOOK
“Flight of the Reindeer” goes beyond a tale of what happens in one night – covering everything from man’s fascination with flying reindeer for the past 5,000 years to the geography of the North Pole to the land’s few visitors; and includes detailed accounts from historians, scientists and ‘helpers’ alike, including meteorologist Al Roker.
With a collaboration between Sullivan, Wolff and book designer J. Porter, the concept of “Flight of the Reindeer” materialized into a historical, scientific and logical look into who Santa is and how he does, well, what he does every year.
Not that he does it alone.
“Mrs. Claus is in charge of the factories, which are in operation twenty-four hours each day, 364 days a year. Einar Gustavsson, the Icelander who envisioned Santa’s flight from Greenland and is an expert on all aspects of elfin society, says this is in no way unusual for a community of elves.” –page 52
With an operation over 2,000 years old, the Christmas Mission has garnered support from ‘helpers’ all over the globe, including physicists, air traffic controllers and chimney sweeps.
Sweeper Lisa Patrick of the Hawaiian Islands is quoted in the book as saying, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.”
Sullivan also goes beyond the logistics of Santa – exploring something much deeper.
“What I tried to convey in “Flight of the Reindeer” was not so much how they do what they do, but why,” he explained. “The science is fun, perhaps, but the moral of the story is what it’s all about for me. Why does this elfin community expend such effort for a charitable act of giving to all peoples? What is Santa trying to tell us about generosity and brotherhood? The more I learned about the Christmas Mission, the more I tuned my own moral compass.”
What about those flying reindeer?
Santa uses Peary caribou – the true fliers—even though many species of reindeer can fly. Well… sort of.
And the lighter weight of a Peary’s antlers allow for liftoff at slower speeds while its splayed hooves can excel it faster and at higher angles of attack.
Think passing commercial flights scare them on Christmas Eve? Not a chance when, every year, the President of the United States orders a moratorium on all flights close to the North Pole.
Seriously.
As for the old skeptic question, how can one man reach so many places in one night? All is explained, thanks to the careful pen, ink and watercolor maps created by Wolff who said he had plenty of sleigh flight data, diagram and maps to reference.

TIMELESS TALE
Still not a believer? Pick up a copy, maybe after gathering all the “evidence” will see you that anything is truly possible.
“Santa is a universal army of one out to simply do good and bring joy into the world,” said Wolff. “Who can argue with that? There are no party affiliations, scandals, corporate bail outs, or negative ad campaigns. Year after year, this guy just gets it done! To quote John Lennon, ‘Imagine...’”
“Flight of the Reindeer, 15th Anniversary Edition The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission” by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff is published by Skyhorse Publishing and retails for $22.95. Wolff will be singing copies of the book at McLean and Eakin Booksellers, in Petoskey, Dec. 16, from 5-7 p.m.; and at Horizon Books, Traverse City, Dec. 19, from 2-5 p.m. For more information on Wolff, visit glennwolff.com or see his fine art at 230 E. 14th Street, Traverse City, Studio D.The Science of Santa
Flight of the Reindeer celebrates 15th anniversary edition
By Erin Crowell

Santa Claus is real.
We knew it when we were five and if we’re lucky, we know it now.
Being a young believer, I thought I had the answer around age five, playing in the snowy yard of my parent’s farmhouse—a few days past Christmas—when I looked up and saw a mark on the side of the chimney: a wet spot only a fat man could make brushing his snow-covered belly against the brick.
“It’s not from Santa,” my sister had said, rolling her eyes.
Despite her having three years of life experience on me, I remained confident that the Man in Red had lapsed in caution, leaving evidence of his existence (other than a trail of cookie crumbs).
It was a moment that brought the stars a little closer to earth and the magic surrounding Christmas shine a bit brighter -- and it has stuck with me to this day.
Maybe you have had one of these aha! moments...maybe you’re a doubter – a left-brained logical since birth. After all, how could one man circle the globe and deliver gifts to all the world’s children in one night?
With flying reindeer, of course.

DOCUMENTED MAGIC
15 years have passed since Robert Sullivan wrote “Flight of the Reindeer,” but the book that claims to give “The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission” has re-emerged as a sound source to believers everywhere – in the form of a 15th anniversary edition.
“I have to say that before I got the call (from Sullivan) I did not know much about Santa and the team,” said Glenn Wolff, illustrator for “Flight of the Reindeer.” “Oh, I had heard the stories, seen the TV specials, and happily opened the presents, but like any young artist discovering the cold cruel world of survival in the ‘90s, I began to doubt my once solid beliefs.”
In 1995, while working in his Traverse City studio, Wolff got a phone call from Sullivan in New York City.
“He said he had written a story about Santa Claus, the truth about his Christmas Mission, and the secret of flying reindeer…and went on to say he thought I was just the artist to map the North Pole, Santa’s Christmas Eve flight routes and show how caribou antlers are aerodynamic.
Despite initial doubt, Wolff said he changed his mind quickly after a lunch meeting with Sullivan and his wife in New York’s Greenwich Village.
“He made a compelling case, laying out much of the ‘evidence’ and in no time I was convinced and signed on to the project,” said Wolff.

ABOUT THE BOOK
“Flight of the Reindeer” goes beyond a tale of what happens in one night – covering everything from man’s fascination with flying reindeer for the past 5,000 years to the geography of the North Pole to the land’s few visitors; and includes detailed accounts from historians, scientists and ‘helpers’ alike, including meteorologist Al Roker.
With a collaboration between Sullivan, Wolff and book designer J. Porter, the concept of “Flight of the Reindeer” materialized into a historical, scientific and logical look into who Santa is and how he does, well, what he does every year.
Not that he does it alone.
“Mrs. Claus is in charge of the factories, which are in operation twenty-four hours each day, 364 days a year. Einar Gustavsson, the Icelander who envisioned Santa’s flight from Greenland and is an expert on all aspects of elfin society, says this is in no way unusual for a community of elves.” –page 52
With an operation over 2,000 years old, the Christmas Mission has garnered support from ‘helpers’ all over the globe, including physicists, air traffic controllers and chimney sweeps.
Sweeper Lisa Patrick of the Hawaiian Islands is quoted in the book as saying, “It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.”
Sullivan also goes beyond the logistics of Santa – exploring something much deeper.
“What I tried to convey in “Flight of the Reindeer” was not so much how they do what they do, but why,” he explained. “The science is fun, perhaps, but the moral of the story is what it’s all about for me. Why does this elfin community expend such effort for a charitable act of giving to all peoples? What is Santa trying to tell us about generosity and brotherhood? The more I learned about the Christmas Mission, the more I tuned my own moral compass.”
What about those flying reindeer?
Santa uses Peary caribou – the true fliers—even though many species of reindeer can fly. Well… sort of.
And the lighter weight of a Peary’s antlers allow for liftoff at slower speeds while its splayed hooves can excel it faster and at higher angles of attack.
Think passing commercial flights scare them on Christmas Eve? Not a chance when, every year, the President of the United States orders a moratorium on all flights close to the North Pole.
Seriously.
As for the old skeptic question, how can one man reach so many places in one night? All is explained, thanks to the careful pen, ink and watercolor maps created by Wolff who said he had plenty of sleigh flight data, diagram and maps to reference.

TIMELESS TALE
Still not a believer? Pick up a copy, maybe after gathering all the “evidence” will see you that anything is truly possible.
“Santa is a universal army of one out to simply do good and bring joy into the world,” said Wolff. “Who can argue with that? There are no party affiliations, scandals, corporate bail outs, or negative ad campaigns. Year after year, this guy just gets it done! To quote John Lennon, ‘Imagine...’”
“Flight of the Reindeer, 15th Anniversary Edition The True Story of Santa Claus and His Christmas Mission” by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff is published by Skyhorse Publishing and retails for $22.95. Wolff will be singing copies of the book at McLean and Eakin Booksellers, in Petoskey, Dec. 16, from 5-7 p.m.; and at Horizon Books, Traverse City, Dec. 19, from 2-5 p.m. For more information on Wolff, visit glennwolff.com or see his fine art at 230 E. 14th Street, Traverse City, Studio D.
 
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