You know what's probably a good thing to hang on your porch in the summertime, to keep mosquitoes away from you and your guests? Just a big bagful of blood.... stirs up memories of a question in another book, "Innumeracy," by John Allen Paulos: What would be the size of a cube containing all the human blood in the world?
I tried to answer, using a reasonable method, thinking about the amount of blood in one person times the number of people in the world, divided by the number of gallons I believed to be in a swimming pool, times what I guessed to be the length of that swimming pool reimagined as a cube. I came up with 40 miles, which was way off, caused in part by getting the first number wrong. (It's 4 quarts, not 4 gallons... obvious now.) The right answer is 870 feet. Amazingly small, yet still insanely huge. Don't worry. If all the blood were in a cube, there would be no human beings to get upset by looking at it.
That reminded me of something I read today about the movie "The Shining":
Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the difficult shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. This would be remarkable if it weren't for the fact that the shot took nine days to set up; every time the doors opened and the blood poured out, Kubrick would say, "It doesn't look like blood." They had tried shooting that scene for an entire year.Yeah, well, check out this feminist performance art -- NSFW --
Not Christmasy enough for you? Eh... it's red.