Sunday, December 23, 2007

Santa Tracker

(Image from Radar avoidance equipment mounted on Santa's sleigh.)

When I was a kid, a local television station aired a warning of an unidentified object coming over the pole on Christmas eve. It was detected by NORAD long-distance radars and seemed to be descending toward the continental United States. Throughout the afternoon there were updates on this mysterious object. Of course, we kids were savvy enough to know it was just more Christmas hype.

Then my dad got home from work.

When the station broadcast the next update, dad panicked. "Virginia! Get the kids and go down to the basement! Load up all the canned goods!"

Mom had no idea what he was talking about. "You want me to what? I'm making dinner!" My sisters and I giggled.

It dawned on him that this was only an innocent bit of fun on the part of the television station. I'm sure he felt a little bit foolish.

We reminded him of the story every Christmas, of course. He got his revenge by playing Jim Reeve's "Dear Senor Santa Claus" over and over until we were ready to scream.

Dad's been gone for almost ten years, now, but the story still brings a smile to my face.

Since the season reminded me, I went looking for a good on-line Santa Tracker, and I found two that I liked. Granted, they're far better than the cheesy special effects cooked up by our local television station, but if you have small children in the house, they'll probably do just fine.

This one shows a polar view, and I assume that it will show Santa's movements tomorrow.

This is nice! It shows the gray line and includes scrolling text from mission control.

You can count on this - tomorrow I'll have one or both of these running all day. Maybe Santa will bring me a new bike! I've been good. Honest. I hope he doesn't talk to Mary, 'cause she lies, ya know.

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Blogger jen x said...

I love these sites! We've used NORAD's site in the past -- I blogged about it today on my site here. I didn't realize NASA had a site too. This will actually have more relvance for my little ones, since NASA is nearby.

Delighted to learn about these new ones -- the "Naughty or Nice" meter on is definitely going to get some use!

10:50 PM  

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