Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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