On the radar

Right about now, Santa is probably fueling up his reindeer with plenty of sugarplum energy bars for Tuesday night's big trip. At the same time, two unarmed Canadian Air Force CF-18s also are revving up to flank the jolly old elf's sleigh with a festive military security detail, according to a five-second segment of a promo video from NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Since 1955, the U.S.-Canadian organization has tracked St. Nick's global route to the delight of good little children everywhere, and this year (at www.noradsanta.org) offered a short animated scene of the dual jet escort, surely for perfectly valid safety reasons -- after all, Santa frequently invades restricted air space.

Regardless, the sight of these fighter planes recently unsettled some reporters, who called folks at the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to see if they were stirred up about the images of militarism being injected into this holiday tradition. They had not been terribly stirred, nor even shaken, and the head of the advocacy group told The Associated Press that "nobody in my organization was out there protesting."

This became a news story anyway about something (spoiler alert) entirely fictional, and vehement comments naturally swelled up on social media like too many marshmallows in your cocoa. But it was worth it just for the image from one commencer that's now dancing in my head: "NORAD tracks jets! If they tracked cupcakes, I'm sure Santa would have been flanked by cupcakes."

Just say no

We can only hope Santa goes through vigilant TSA screeners before his flight so that he is prevented from delivering Swants. Yes, Swants -- possibly this year's Snuggie -- are the invention of Stephen West who came up with the idea to cut apart old sweaters and sew them back together in the form of leg-hugging pants. Hence, Swants. A natural question would be, "Why?" On his website, West explains, "Your booty deserves to be just as warm as your torso." He then goes on to provide a step-by-step tutorial to make these "sassy" pants, with the caveat to "pick a sweater you are not emotionally attached to," in case you mess up.

He even wrote a Swants poem, which includes the line: "Envelop your thighs with cozy knit stitches. You'll be the envy of all in your stylish new britches."

Your turkey's on the phone

In the vein of tracking things, you can now track your entire holiday meal, as it cooks, via the first Wi-Fi-enabled leave-in probe thermometer from -- who else? -- the good people at Williams-Sonoma. They always manage to come up with stuff you don't really need. For a suggested retail price of $199.95 and an app for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, you can "plan and track your entire meal" with your smart thermometer, reads the product description. "One thermometer does it all through one-screen monitoring of temperature, cooking progress and time remaining. Schedule separate timers for side dishes and alerts for tasks like basting the turkey. Frees you to go wherever you like within your home's Wi-Fi range and keeps precise track on your mobile device."

Maybe NORAD should tie one to Santa.

-- Angela Hill, ahill@bayareanewsgroup.com

Follow her at Twitter @GiveEmHill.