Walk with us down the strange path of the AP video dedicated to the world's longest Christmas log, won't you? If you'd rather not read spoilers, you can watch the video (posted above) before you read. Or, for the most fun ever, read along while you watch!
This is definitely a video by America's top wire service, the Associated Press, operator of hundreds of news bureaus in more than 120 countries. Forty-nine Pulitzers.
Shanghai, China. An unsmiling man is stretching a measuring tape to measure (verify?) the length of a cake that's already been marked with measurements. There isn't any sound. It's very dramatic. He's wearing a suit, and no, he doesn't need a calculator.
A crew of men and women in chef's hats stand around expectantly. It looks like they're suppressing smiles, like they know they're about to win the one thing they've always wanted (puppy that never grows into a dog?), but they don't want to jinx it. There's something about them that calls to mind Henry Higgin's staff.
"This Christmas log is one thousand sixty eight meters," says the besuited man, who smiles for the first time so far. Wild applause.
A plaque is passed from the stoic suited man to a jolly suited man. The only legible text: "Guinness," "World," "Records, "Certificate." The rest is blurry but looks like it could read, "This hangout grill hug was presented by Plymouth Mangianga, Shanghai, China, on 1 December 2011" (probably-incorrect words bolded). The jolly man who takes the certificate does not look Chinese.
One of the chefs is touching up the ten rows of log with chocolate frosting squeezed from a plastic cone. He also does not look Chinese.
Whaaa? Are we in the woods? Is that snow, falling atop a beautiful log? Why is there a red flag planted in the beautiful log? Does Mars own this log? Oh phew, it's only our old friend, the longest Christmas log in the world, getting powdered sugar sifted onto it. How sneaky of the AP to zoom in like that!
"Very secret recipe of chocolate frosting."
A man in a SARS mask is cutting the log into slices. This time, the man looks Chinese.
This cake's best side is its cross-section.
There is a little girl getting interviewed now. The description under her name reads, "SIX-YEAR-OLD CANCER PATIENT." She looks very smiley and sweet and there's no reason given to non-Chinese speakers as to why her medical history had to be shared.
Back at the flags, meter 959. Why again did that man have to use his measuring tape when it's all been marked out so neatly?
Segmented pieces of the once great log are being handed over to guests in plastic packaging. They only look like normal Christmas logs now. How ephemeral the stars of Guinness truly are.