My family isn't much for holiday traditions, but one thing I can count on during a visit home is experiencing some new junk food. This year my mom's snack splurge was an assortment of Sprecher sodas. Sprecher is a craft brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that produces several types of beer, gourmet sodas, and even some mustards and BBQ sauces. Sprecher Root Beer is absolutely one of the best root beers out there, so I was eager to try some of their other varieties of pop. Not being a huge fan of orange or cream soda, I settled on a bottle of Puma Kola.

Sprecher promotes the cola as having a distinctive flavor from real kola extract, vanilla, a pinch of cinnamon, and pure honey. The flavor is distinctive, more like a root beer than a typical cola, and it drinks more smoothly than most colas too. The profile is almost like a mix of a smooth root beer like A&W and a sweeter cola like Pepsi. That isn't a bad combination per se, but as someone who prefers Coca-Cola it does not scratch my cola itch. Puma Kola, like all Sprecher sodas, is also caffeine free. I can make exceptions for a great root beer or a can of Squirt, but most days I don't feel like I'm trying unless I am fully caffeinated.

Cola fans should find Puma Kola interesting as a change of pace, but go with Sprecher Root Beer if you want the goods.  

Live theater is not a regular topic of conversation on this blog, but A Klingon Christmas Carol is not your ordinary theatrical event. As the website describes it:

Scrooge has no honor, nor any courage. Can three ghosts help him to become the true warrior he ought to be in time to save Tiny Tim from a horrible fate? Performed in the Original Klingon with English Supertitles and narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology.

Klingon Christmas Carol Chicago

That’s right. Honest to goodness theater about Klingons, performed in Klingon. How could I pass that up?


The play is staged by Commedia Beauregard, a theater company based in Minnesota that specializes in adapting foreign language plays into English. In 2007, the group began annually producing A Klingon Christmas Carol to raise money and publicity for the company. This year Commedia Beauregard set up a branch in Chicago which my gave my wife and me the chance to attend rather than merely joking about a road trip to Minneapolis. While Nerd Lunch and my Twitter feed are undoubtedly big time, expansion to Chicago also generated some other notable publicity like the front page of the Wall Street Journal and Conan O’Brien’s monologue (at the 5:00 mark).


The main arc of the story is what you might imagine, if you ever imagined Klingons in a classic Christmas story. SQuja’ (Scrooge) is an elderly Klingon who has spent his life as a cowardly money lender instead of an honorable warrior. His deceased business partner, marlI’, cannot rest until SQuja’ follows the way of the warrior. Three spirits, the Ghost of qeylIS (Kahless) Past, Ghost of qeylIS Present, and Ghost of qeylIS Future, visit SQuja’ to encourage him to change his life. Fortunately SQuja’ learns from his mistakes and he is not only able to help tImHom (Tiny Tim) survive his Rite of Ascension, but also comes to understand the true meaning of the ram nI’tay (Feast of the Long Night).


The script was clearly written by someone who knows their Star Trek. There are references to painstiks, Rura Penthe, the Ferengi, and Sto'Vo'Kor amongst others. Though the masterstroke is the Ghost of qeylIS Past who looks like he stepped out of a classic episode like The Trouble With Tribbles and “beams” from scene to scene. Genius.


Aside from transitional narration by the Vulcan anthropologist, the entire dialogue is indeed spoken in Klingon. English translations are projected onto a screen above the stage for non-Klingon speakers. On the night we attended, non-Klingon speakers made up the entire audience with the possible exception of the guy in full costume and Klingon makeup that rivaled that of the cast members.


We haven’t officially put together a Nerd Lunch Bucket List, but A Klingon Christmas Carol absolutely has to be on there. It’s as fun of a nerd themed outing as you will find. Nerds or geeks in the vicinity of Chicago or Minneapolis next December should definitely make it a part of their holiday plans.

On Twitter, @Hunkburger, @theroseinbloom, and I were just discussing nerdy Christmas ornaments  and I thought I'd post pictures of the nerdy ornaments that grace our family Christmas tree.

Here are the requisite super heroes fending off evil...

My favorite of the super hero ornaments though, just might be this one I bought for my daughter two years ago:

I also have a couple Muppets represented on the tree, although, neither are mine. The Kermit is also my daughter's and the Cookie Monster is my wife's.

Because we have a near two-year-old running around this Christmas, the 1977 Gorham Sesame Street resin ornaments did not make it on the tree this year. You can see what they look like here.

Finally, the "nerd icon of Christmas" is on our tree. Rudolph, the much maligned reindeer who ultimately comes back to save the day (every nerd's wish), hangs on the tree as well.

And, that's it really. Because I have to share the tree with others in the household who have non-nerd interests and I'd much rather invest in nerd merchandise that is on display all year, I don't have a whole lot of nerd ornaments. Other than my Serenity ornament (see below) that sits on my desk instead of hangs on the tree, I don't have any space ship ornaments. That seems to be a gaping hole in my ornament collection. I guess Jeeg has that covered though.

What about you? What nerd ornaments hang on your Christmas tree?

Seems every year we've done a post giving you some ideas for what you could get that special nerd in your life for Christmas. This year, I thought I'd do that again. However, this year, instead of listing out some things you can get at Walmart or Amazon, I thought I'd give you some ideas for more unique gifts that may not be as obvious.

First up...Brain Wash Soap
One of the best parts about taking showers is that is where I get all my ideas. I sometimes wish I could set up a computer in there and do all my work there. Maybe that's why soap in the shape of a brain appeals to me. I feel like that's where my brain works best.

At Luxury Lane Soap, you can get more than just brain soap. There are tons of fun shapes to be had.

Next...Crocheted Cthulhu

Teddy bears are cool and all, but I gotta think by this point, they've had their run. Time for stuffed Cthulhus to have a shot at earning a spot in your child's heart.

Check out Cthulhu Chick's shop on Etsy for all kinds of cuddly Cthulhus.

And then...redMod or LimeLantern Power Rings

Get your very own Power Ring. No Lantern Needed! These cool rings have a power emblem embossed on them and come in green and red colors.

Check out shinyLines for those and even more jewelry and apparel.

And hey...Nerd Lunch Merchandise
Why not support your favorite blog and pick up some Nerd Lunch apparel or drink ware? The fabulous logo designed by Nerd Lunch staffer Gus McGroarty can be beautifully applied to many different items and then you can wear or carry said items around town. It'll increase your wealth, health and power in community.


Not necessarily a nerd item and likely not something you can sign up for before Christmas, but check out Stitched by Janay, my wife's sewing blog, for ideas for custom embroidery. She can do nerdy things if you ask her to although her scope is much beyond just the realm of nerdom.
I don't know the history, but some men have begun taking on November as a month to grow facial hair. There are various plans at this point. Some call it "Novembeard." Some grow just a mustache and call it "Movember." I stuck with the term "No Shave November" although what I technically did was probably more akin to "Novembeard." Oftentimes, men use this as a means to heighten awareness about various things. I did not. I just did it say that I could.

Growing it out is one thing, but the real fun comes with shaving it off. Here's the progression:

Full Beard

Riker Cut

Goatee with Sideburns


The "Lawrence"

The "Magnum"

All Gone