Smithsonian blog brings history to life, new website showcases humorous examples of parents' technological learning curves, Michael Bublé releases 2011 Christmas CD, and more.
Never too early
Sure, you're still planning Thanksgiving dinner, but heads up! The annual flurry of Christmas records has just hit the airwaves and Internet. On Michael Bublé Christmas, the popular crooner deftly skates between intimate and overblown versions of all the yuletide favorites. He teams up with fellow Canadian Shania Twain for a charming Elvis-style "White Christmas" and will knock your stockings off with a cool and swinging "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," backed by a big band conjuring the ghost of Count Basie past.
A British classic revisited
Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Collection brings what some have called the best TV series ever produced to Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 1. This iconic, 11-episode show, based on the Evelyn Waugh novel, launched Jeremy Irons as an international star, while showcasing Laurence Olivier and Claire Bloom at the heads of a stellar cast. The box set includes a documentary, outtakes, and commentaries.
The things parents text
The website WhenParentsText.com posts submissions from children of texts sent by their parents that showcase funny errors or just parental cluelessness. But often the parents seem in on the joke, as in one post where a father texted his child: "LSHMSFOAIDMT!!!" He provides a translation in the next text: "Laughing so hard my sombrero fell off and I dropped my taco!"
Vietnam in first person
Vietnam in HD is a six-hour cable docudrama on The History Channel that illuminates that war through the words and experiences of those who lived through it. Using diaries, archival footage, and real-life accounts, the series reminds viewers how and why this battle was so controversial and how long the divisions it caused have lasted in American culture. Raw and visceral, this ambitious series debuts Nov. 8.
Strange but true tales
Show the Smithsonian Museum's new blog, Past Imperfect (http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/history/), to any kid who's complaining that history is boring and that will be the end of that conversation. And the beginning of a new one. The blogs are about little-known aspects of history, or, as they bill themselves, "history with all the interesting bits left in," and make for a fascinating read – full of hidden stories and colorful characters.
Camping sans hardship
Get a taste of the great outdoors at The View From The Tent Door (viewfromthetent.tumblr.com) where you can peek out of the tents of other people who are on camping trips around the world. The photos on the site are submitted by intrepid travelers and capture the beauty of sweeping deserts, snow-covered hills, and calm rivers – along with the occasional elephant.