Saturday, December 27, 2003
Dedman has done a fantastic job of keeping up with his blog. I have not. Christmas is going well. It is humid and warm in Houston today. it will be cool and dry in Phoenix when we return tomorrow.
My brother has a new, three legged dog. She is very sweet and entertaining. She is, however, destroying all which is in her path.
11:18 AM |
Monday, December 22, 2003
So today is the last day I update for a long while. Which is fine, because if you're spending your time over the next few days eagerly anticipating the next update from the League, we think maybe you should go out and look at some Christmas lights and get some fresh air.
The League may well be busy with family while in Spring, TX. But who knows? Shoot the League an e-mail if you'll be in H-Town.
In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone the best this Holiday Season. I think I've been pretty plain here in these pages about my opinions and feelings surrounding this great mish-mash of a season. And we can all take it seriously, or we can try to have fun with it. We can know it's nothing but a consumerist sham, or we can know that at the heart of it, no matter what else gets put up in front as the great facade, there's some good at the heart of it. Maybe a whole lot of good that we're supposed to be waiting to find.
So this Christmas, I want three things (because Jamie already got me the sweater. It's green.).
I want Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men, and I want for everyone to know how wonderful and special is my beautiful wife, Jamie. She's the best.
Maybe that's four things. Ah, well.
Merry Christmas, Leaguers. Peace on Earth, and good will towards all people everywhere. The year is coming to an end. We have a new one coming and a chance to do it right this time.
Hey, Leaguers! The Holiday Contest has drawn to a close! I am unable to choose a winner as, frankly, there are too many great entries this year, and I think I shoudl have narrowed the contest down a bit. Well, live and learn we do, here at League of Melbotis HQ.
I have to say that those who write in to the League are a persuasive lot, and each holds a special flicker of the Christmas Spirit within them. I wish each and every Leaguer a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday.
Instead of selecting a winner, I shall figure something out for every entrant to the contest. So, folks, just be aware of how busy The League has been, and how short of cash now that all of the extended family has received a Hickory Farms cheese log basket.
So, God and finances willing, a token of The League's appreciation will arrive after the Holidays.
In the meantime, I have compiled the answers and selections sent in by Loyal Leaguers. I invite you to read them each and all, and to appreciate the effort and POV of each and every person as they come to Christmas.
MOST BIZARRE HOLIDAY MEDIA
The Six Million Dollar Man ¡V Hear 4 Exciting Christmas Adventures ¡V Peter Pan Records
Remember Peter Pan records? It was like the Mercury Theater of the Air for the 1970s kids. Okay, maybe not. But they put out a lot of radio theater-type albums, and this one takes the cake for me. I found my copy at a Best Buy fire sale 10 years ago. Follow Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man (played by an incredibly wooden "actor") in the following Christmas adventures: "The Kris Kringle Caper," "Elves' Revolt," "The Toymaker," and "Christmas Lights." Here's an exciting scene from "The Kris Kringle Caper," as Steve disguises himself as a department store Santa: Girl: "Hey, don't I know you?" Six Mil: "Of course, everyone knows me, I'm Santa Claus." Girl: "There's no such person as Santa Claus." Six Mil: "Then, who am I?" Girl: "I think you're the man who was here the other day, the one who tried to get my present back for me." Six Mil: "I'm Santa Claus." Girl: "I told you, there's no such person." Six Mil: "Then what are you doing on my lap?"
A. STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL 1978. Television. With Several Wookies, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Art Carney, Bea Arthur, and Jefferson Airplane. This show made me question the sanctity of my own reality.
B. MISTLETOE JAM 1995. Luther Vandross, song from the album, This is Christmas. This should perhaps go under the category of most unfortunately named holiday media. The song starts off with the following dialogue: "Girl come on over here and get under this MISTLETOE with me!" "I'm not getting under that mistletoe with you any more!" "Why not?" "Cause you don't know how to act when you get under there." "What are you talking about?" "YOU know what I'm talking about." "What?" "The last time I got under that thing with you¡K" "What happened?" "The last time I got under there with you?... I had twins!" "Oooh. Tell it all." It also contains the verse: Glad you got big feet, Cause they're so good for dancing Glad you got big legs Cause they're so good when we're romancing You still got the flavor And I'm hungry for your love So I'm gonna play this one jam That will make you want to kiss somebody And the oft repeated rousing chorus: This is the mistletoe jam I like to party all night And dance to the mistletoe jam Mistletoe Jam! Everybody kiss somebody
Worst of all, I don't think this is meant to be a joke.
C. CHRISTMAS WITH ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS 1962. Album. This is the sort of novelty album that probably should have gone the way of the Christmas meowing or barking albums or that singing fish, but didn't. They are singing rodents, but their harmonies are tight and Christmas Don't Be Late remains a holiday favorite. For children everywhere that have sped up their own voices with technology and laughed.
1. "Christmas with the Devil" by Spinal Tap. The sugar plums are rancid and the stockings are in flames. Appearing on Tap's 1992 comeback record, Break Like the Wind, this track was brought to you by Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer, the auteurs of Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind. Their reappearance was not well-received, and they even picked a fight with Metallica for plagiarizing the cover of their own "none more black" black album. Tap, of course, is by far the most amusing of the McKean/Guest/Shearer oeuvre, and their take on Christmas is bizarre indeed.
2. Rankin/Bass Christmas television specials. You remember these dreadful creations if you were remotely sentient during the seventies or eighties, when they were rerun ceaselessly during the holidays. (I was surprised to discover how old these are, actually, as the first of the series, Ruldolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was released in 1964.). The primitively odd pseudo-claymation-animation and the overdone soundtrack effects make these television specials simply creepy and bizarre. Burl Ives croons away as Sam the Snowman while a yeti/sasquatch finds redemption? Yikes. Here are a few links, courtesty of IMDB, to jog your memory:
Of course, I note with interest that The League of Melbotis chose an image from one of these specials to accompany its introduction of the contest. That is most frighteningly unfortunate.
Radio City Christmas Spectacular - probably the most garish, expensive, unnecessary ode to Christmas. 2 hours of military precision dancing by a line of shapely women, massively dorky singers warbling about the joys of shopping and toys and even a scene where Mrs. Claus grabs Santa's butt (I kid you not!) only to end with a 20 minute sanctimonious "Living Nativity" scene - complete with live camels - that flogs the audience that Christmas is not about gifts and Santa (despite the fact that the previous 1 hour and 40 minutes had you believing otherwise) and absolutely castigating any goodwill you may have had towards the religious origins of the holiday. I hate this show.
RUNNER-UP Not sure why, but I've always found the "Do they Know It's Christmas" to be somewhat bizarre. I mean, they are singing about Africa and asking "Do they know it's Christmas?" Well....if they're not Christian - PROBABLY NOT. Never knew Bob Geldolf had a missionary streak in him.... http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&uid=UIDMISS70312171613340497&sql=B2ltqoa8ayijn
1) David Sedaris "Santaland Diaries" NPR Morning Edition (originally about 1993 but they tend to replay it--that's the best I can do) You can't do comedy justice by describing it. That said, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the background of grinches, and who needs a happy ending? Who expects one anyway when your job is playing Crumpet the Elf at Macy's for the Christmas season? Sedaris takes the piss out of deranged parents who make screaming children smile for the camera or ask Santa to stop animal testing, kids who want their dead dad back and a complete set of ninja turtles, "Santa Santa" who thinks he really is Santa, and Snowball the elf who leads all the other elves and Santas on. Of course, the main reason it's essential is because nowhere else will you hear what Away in a Manger would sound like sung by Billie Holiday. I think I was supposed to say something about how this affected me personally. A year or two ago this came on the radio when I was driving with my kid sister who was just old enough not to believe in Santa anymore but smart enough not to tell our folks. So we listened to this and laughed ourselves silly (nearly causing a wreck) and shared our little secret that she was "in" on the grow-up stuff. Then we drove the rest of the way home singing Christmas songs in silly voices and different styles.
"It's A Wonderful Life" ¡V 1946 ¡V directed by Frank Capra
Is there any film more ¡§wonderful¡¨ than ¡§It¡¦s A Wonderful Life?¡¨ It may seem hard to believe, but Frank Capra¡¦s 1946 classic wasn¡¦t really a success when it opened. Now over fifty years later, ¡§It¡¦s A Wonderful Life¡¨ is one of the defining moments of American cinema, and is a perennial holiday favorite. But to call ¡§It¡¦s A Wonderful Life¡¨ a ¡§Christmas movie¡¨ isn¡¦t really doing it justice. Yes, much of it is set around Christmastime, but this is a film that can be viewed at any time of the year.
Jimmy Stewart stars as George Bailey, a role that he credited as his favorite until the day he died. Donna Reed is radiant as Mary Hatch, George¡¦s childhood sweetheart. George has dreams. He wants to travel the world become a famous architect, and have a life full of adventure. Instead, he¡¦s living in Bedford Falls, the same small town he grew up in, where he works at his family¡¦s building and loan business. After a life of sacrifice, a crisis that could leave him penniless and in jail drives George to the breaking point, and he contemplates suicide. Instead, his guardian angel Clarence, AS-2 (angel, second class), appears. George remarks that maybe the world would have been better off if he had never been born, and so Clarence shows him just what would have been, had that happened.
What Clarence shows George (and us) is just how precious our lives really are, and how interconnected we are to the rest of the world. Every deed we do does not go unnoticed; on the contrary, everything we do affects the people we know, and so on, and so on. It¡¦s a message that is as prescient at Christmastime as it is throughout the year.
Not to be overlooked in ¡§It¡¦s A Wonderful Life¡¨ are the terrific romantic and comedic moments, such as George and Mary¡¦s dance into an open swimming pool, or the honeymoon they share in a rickety old house that will one day become a home.
Yet the heart of It's A Wonderful Life remains its hero, George Bailey. The term "everyman" could have been coined from this role it's hard to find someone who hasn't felt the same as George at one time or another. Plus, Jimmy Stewart is just so doggone likeable, and plays the part with such emotion, that you can't help but feel yourself slipping into his shoes.
The coming Christmas season will undoubtedly bring repeated showings of "It's A Wonderful Life" on television as it does every year. You see, the film itself lapsed into the public domain in the 1970s, meaning that until its copyright was renewed in the 1990s, anyone who could get their hands on a print could make copies and sell them at a minimal cost. It also meant that television stations could show the film without paying any royalties. So, in a twist of fate, the film¡¦s public domain status brought it to a wider audience and made it more popular than ever before. This year, whether you¡¦ve never seen it, or even if you've seen it fifty times over, you owe it to yourself to take a trip to Bedford Falls, to discover again just how "wonderful" life really is.
"A Christmas Story" 1983 directed by Bob Clark
Like "It's A Wonderful Life," this movie flopped upon its initial release (do I see a pattern here?). But time has proven that "A Christmas Story" gets it right about what it's like to be a kid in the weeks leading up to that glorious morning of presents, presents, presents, and bleary-eyed parents. Who would have believed that the director of a movie as sophomoric and, some might say, misogynistic, as "Porky's" could craft something so warm-hearted? I still don't believe it. I think the real star of the movie is the late writer Jean Shepherd, whose writing and narration breathlessly whisks us through the story. It's a near-perfect mix of satire, and fond memories of life as a kid. A+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Vince Guaraldi Trio ¡V "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
It's a classic now, but the network didn't like it at first. Jazz music? For a kids' program? But the "Peanuts" characters are less like kids and more like smaller adults, and that's just one of the reasons why this music fits so perfectly with the celebrated special. Can you look at folks on an ice rink and not think of the "skating" music? Do you bob your head back and forth like that weird dancing kid when you hear "Linus and Lucy?" Have you ever heard a more swingin' version of "O Tannenbaum" than the one crafted herein?
A. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS 1965. Television. Because Charlie Brown is depressed over the commercialism of Christmas. Because apparently pink aluminum trees were hot that year. Because a jazz band followed that group of kids around wherever they went. Because they used real kids voices for the characters. Because Linus is the wisest kid to ever carry a security blanket. Because gee wiz those kids can dance.
B. A CHRISTMAS STORY 1983. Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin You know the tale. All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red-Ryder BB rifle with a compass in the stock. The film captures the imperfect perfection of most American households at Christmas and almost every line is quotable. Or at least my American household. If I had grown up in the '40's. Some of my favorites include, "You'll shoot your eye out!" "I CAN'T PUT MY ARMS DOWN!!!" "It was...It was...soap poisoning." "Drink your ovaltine." "I double dog dare ya." "It's a major award."
C. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1946. Frank Capra, James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore... Admit it. You are a grown man. And it makes you cry.
(editor's note: Yes. I do. Every year. 8 years and Jamie still hasn't noticed that I'm sobbing like a baby over there on the other end of the couch.)
1. "Merry Christmas from the Family" - Robert Earl Keen. Mind you, I refer not to the uninspired studio version on Gringo Honeymoon but the energetic, impossible-not-to-enjoy live rendition on No 2 Live Dinner. By no means is Keen a master lyricist, and he's certainly not the best singer, but the live version of this song offers listeners an amusing piece of Texana which is tied to the holidays. In fact, the entire album is characterized by an energy and enthusiasm that simply does not appear in his studio recordings. Check it out.
2. The Ref, (1994). Released in March of 1994, the film's promotional tagline was "The ultimate Christmas movie is coming this spring." Denis Leary, a bank robber, finds himself chaperoning his two hostages, Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis. The rivalry and repartee between Spacey and Davis, who play a disfunctional married couple, reads like an existential Edward Albee yuletide comedy. This was Spacey, just a year shy from his greatest year, 1995, when he released three superb films, all of which had twist endings. (Those were, of course, Seven, The Usual Suspects, and Swimming with Sharks.). Alas, he went on to perpetrate K-PAX. Whatever the case, this is not your typical Christmas flick, but it is far more amusing that most of the cinematic detritus which passes for comedy these days.
3. General George Washington, Christmas 1776. It was on Christmas night that Washington crossed the Delaware River. Its effect on history cannot be overstated. Pigeonholing this historical event into the "Most Essential Holiday Media" category is difficult, but I suspect, if challenged, I can develop some lawyerly argument to justify its inclusion.
(editor's note: while this isn't media in it's strictest sense, we're letting Jim's answer slide. Because here at the League, our patriotic hearts swell with pride at the thought of Washington going to kick a limey in the teeth on Christmas eve).
as a child I had a dream that I was in the boat with George. Funny what comes back to you.
(editor's note: While The League remains a secular institution, we kind of like Linus maintaing that the meaning of Christmas is not to be found in an aluminum tree.)
I nominate The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris in the Essential category.
When I mentioned to an esteemed colleague that I intended to nominate The Santaland Diaries in the Abso-Ludicrous First Annual 2003 Autocratic Yuletide Media Extravaganza!!!!, his response was, F**k yeah I take this as evidence that I could have put my nomination in the Celebrated category as well, but my nomination stands in Essential.
Do a Google search for sardonic, merrily subversive tale. Need I say more?
1) Jimmy Buffet "Christmas Island" CD 1996 (oh by the way this one went Platinum (1))
It's not that hard to make fun of Jimmy Buffet except that he usually does it for you himself. But, as he says there's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Perhaps there's an even finer line between being ironic and utterly massacring a Christmas song. Anyway, it's not entirely clear if Buffet knows when he's being absurd intentionally or purely out of habit. Case in point, "Uncle John's Band" with steel drums on the 1994 Fruitcakes album.
Unfortunately the steel drums and background singers had a lot more in store for the 1996 release of "Christmas Island"--not to mention the running commentary and the hidden, thoroughly uninteresting reading of "The Night Before Christmas" (he sounds conscious). Four tracks are originals and standard Buffet fare(2) including Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rhum (which apparently rhymes with "Santa's off to the Caribbean"). Four tracks are Buffet-ized versions of pop Christmas songs including John Lennon/Yoko Ono's "Happy Christmas (War is Over), Mele Kalikimaka (obvious), Run Rudolph Run, and I'll Be Home for Christmas in which he gives the steel drums a break and milks the sap his voice instead (to mix a metaphor).
What makes this album truly regrettable though, are the two "traditional" tracks arranged by Buffet and Utley: Jingle Bells and Up on the Housetop. (links to snippets in .ra on Amazon)
If you know much Buffet, one line sums up the treatment of Jingle Bells: "Oh, what fun on Jah's cool run in a one-horse open sleigh". If that's not enough, imagine backup singers iterating "Oh! Oh! Jingle!/Jingle bells!" while Buffet chatters in his best (worst?) Jamaican accent, "Oh, oh! Watch out for that girl? Oh mon! Look at that truck! Stay on the left! stay on the left! Who's that Rosco with the Santa Claus hat? Hey Rosco man, what you got in that big burlap sack for me? A pre-sant? Oh thank you Santa Mon!"
I wish I could say that's the worst anyone could abuse a Christmas song, but "Up on the Housetop" takes the cake. From what I can tell it's a drunk surfer version, although it could be that Buffet's surfer accent just happens to sound more like a drunk. This time the background singers sing "Ooh Ooh Wah! Chicky Chicky Wah!" but he hasn't mucked with the lyrics. Little Wil gets "a hammer and tacks, also a ball and a whip that cracks" followed by a creepy chortle that leaves me feeling a little gross and dirty. Sadly not included in the lyrics are the other voiceovers: "Dude! Don't be a dude, Dude!", "Tubular Dude!", "Bitchin!", "Oh come on Dude, share the wave, share the wave it's Christmas!", a screeching Oow!, and "They say it's your birthday, it's my birthday too!" (which I can only take to mean Jimmy wants to get into the Beatles/Beach Boys fracas, but it's a little late and this is no white album. I guess I should just be glad there aren't any pet sounds).
1 Buffet has put out over thirty albums since 1970 and eight went platinum. I had assumed that in addition to the baseline of parrothead buyers, most copies were sold to folks like my mother who knew someone that likes Jimmy Buffet and saw the CD in the check-out line. Apparently however, at least on Amazon, this is actually popular with fans. Then again, if no one had ever heard it, could it truly be "regrettable"? I finally forced myself to actually listen to this CD all the way through for the first time for the sake of writing this email. Indeed2, I was a little surprised to see it was in my CD wallet when I arrived here in Japan.
2 Word used with permission, Jim Dedman, „¦2003.
Karen Morrow and Charles Nelson Reilly ¡V "Baby, It's Cold Outside" ¡V from the album A Hollywood Christmas (2000)
It's more like "A Match Game Christmas" as Morrow and Reilly step all over one another in this decidedly un-swingin' version of "Baby It's Cold Outside." Plus, Reilly can't sing worth a damn. Please, Spirit, deliver me from these shadows you have shown me, and I will honor Christmas in my heart!
The Dixie Chicks and Rosie O'Donnell ¡V "Merry Christmas From the Family" ¡V from the album Another Rosie Christmas 2000
It's kind of cool to hear Natalie Maines sing this wonderfully trashy Robert Earl Keen song, until Rosie O'Donnell butts in and sings like she wants us to know "I'M HERE WITH THE DIXIE CHICKS! AND I'M SINGIN'!!!! AND I WILL BE HEARD!!!!!!"
A. THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK, Merry Merry Christmas, 1995. Featuring Funky Funky Xmas.
I never loved the NKOTB. I was one of maybe five girls who didn't wear the pink t-shirt the morning after the concert in Junior High. I probably really really wanted to like them, nobody is really that interested in straying from the crowd in the seventh grade, but I just couldn't like them at all. I bet that's why I wasn't elected to student council. Stupid NKOTB. Your album has a song called Funky Funky Xmas and another called Merry Merry Xmas. You suck.
B. FAKE CINDY, A VERY BRADY CHRISTMAS. 1988. Television. Starring Not Susan Olsen.
Dear Fake Cindy. You are not the real Cindy. You are a fake. Faker.
C. STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, Entire Cast and Crew. See Above. I am still not over this.
1. The cast of Miracle on 34th Street (1994). What were they thinking? Refashioning a timeless, beloved film is almost always inappropriate. Richard Attenborough as Santa Clause? A pre-Practice Dylan McDermott as the idealist attorney? Elizabeth Perkins? Well, at least George Lucas wasn't involved. . . .
(editor's note: and let us not forget that the original Miracle on 34th Street starred Maureen O'Hara, who is hot.)
2. Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney. Apparently, it was a 1981 Christmas telephone conversation from Jacko to McCartney which prompted "The Girl is Mine," their duet on Thriller. Who could forget the gems that are its lyrics? The girl is mine, The doggone girl is mine, I know she's mine, Because the doggone girl is mine. That tune, of course, led to the equally silly "Say, Say, Say," a second duet which was accompanied by a ridiculously embarrassing video featuring Jacko and McCartney as traveling con artists. From what I understand, the two no longer speak. Good.
3. Jim Carrey as the Grinch.
American Idol - do I really have to say more? Did the world really need Melisma-laden version of "The First Noel" by Clay Aiken? I didn't think so. (Author's note: Melisma is a singing term, which essentially means stretching one syllable of a word in a song to cover multiple notes and/or octaves. Current singer who use Melisma as a crutch include Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, etc. Many people today confuse Melisma-laden singing acrobatics as the hallmark of a good singer. I hate Melisma. Give me Aretha Franklin any day.....)
RUNNER-UP - Radio City Christmas Spectacular. There's nothing like a line of Rockettes dressed-up in Reindeer costumes to make you think "Christmas."
MOST CELEBRATED HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE
Nat King Cole ¡V "The Christmas Song"
The Man only gave him 15 minutes on television, but Nat King Cole gave us the definitive recording of one of the warmest, fuzziest Christmas songs of the 20th Century.
Clarence Carter ¡V "Back Door Santa" ¡V from the album Soul Christmas (1968)
Santa's gone straight past the cookie tray, and up to the bedroom in this blues/soul classic. "They call me Back Door Santa/I make my runs 'bout the break of day/I make all the little girls happy/While all the boys are out to play." Another great line ¡V "Wouldn't ol' Santa be in trouble/If there ain't no chimney in the house?" That randy Santa. Bonus trivia: the horn line from this tune was sampled by Run D.M.C. for "Christmas In Hollis."
Astronaut Frank Borman ¡V Christmas Greetings from Space, December 24, 1968
On Christmas, I find the image of our fragile planet Earth as seen from space very moving. Astronaut Frank Borman did, too, as he read a passage from Genesis, and concluded his message from the crew of Apollo 8 by saying, "God bless all of you; all of you on the good Earth."
(editor's note: If you've never heard this recording, you should. ***UPDATE*** We located the broadcast. A transcription can be found here. We would also add that when we heard this for the first time, just earlier this year, we were deeply moved as well.)
A. GENERAL HOSPITAL-Alan reads the Christmas story to the children at the hospital.Yearly, ABC
Here I am, outing myself as a huge freak again, but when I was young my mother watched all the ABC soaps, well except Loving, and during the Christmas break I would get to see the Christmas episode of General Hospital. I'm pretty sure it was a different character when I was younger, but whoever is the most senior at the hospital reads the Christmas story to the children at the hospital every year. In my childhood mind it was probably as essential a part of the Christmas ritual as church. When I was six or so I received a Fisher Price tape recorder for Christmas and recorded the General Hospital reading, then retaped myself playing the roles of all the children.
B. CHRISTMAS EVE ON SESAME STREET, Television Special, 1978
This used to be a yearly tradition in the Maxwell house as well, back in the "old school" days before VCR's we would all gather around the television once a year on the evening it was to be broadcast. Bert and Ernie engage in a "Gift of the Magi" present exchange involving a rubber ducky and a paperclip collection. Oscar asks Big Bird how Santa gets down all those skinny little chimneys if he is so wide, and for some reason Big Bird thinks that his own doubt will cause the entire universe to fall apart ending in total Christmas destruction. Miraculously the presents arrive anyway. How? I think Kermit's interview with unknown child #5 comes up with the most plausible answer, "Santa Sneaks in with the relatives on Thanksgiving and hides in the laundry until Christmas Eve."
C. JOHN DENVER AND THE MUPPETS, A CHRISTMAS TOGETHER, Album, 1979
Every year after the children's Christmas Eve mass, but before the cheese fondue, my parents would put this record, yes record, on. I love every single song on the album beyond reason. Rowlf sings a soulful version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas that puts all others to shame.
(editor's note: We had this album, too. THis year the League not only got to share this album with a student from India, but had the pleasure of trying to explain what a Muppet was. We assume he knows what a John Denver is.)
There can be no other answer than It's A Wonderful Life. Its message of hope withstands the test of even the most cynical of times. What effect does a single individual have on those around him, and what would happen if he was robbed of his existence? Whose lives would be affected? A stellar Christmas flick. From what I understand, it was a flop upon its first release, and it was only when it began appearing on television numerous times each Christmas season that it became the "celebrated" classic it is today. On a local note, one of the premieres of It's A Wonderful Life was held right here in Beaumont, Texas at the historic Jefferson Theatre. Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra attended. Who knew?
A Tuna Christmas - Joe Sears and Jaston Williams. By far the best of the "Tuna" trilogy - a series of plays regarding the fictional town of Tuna, Texas. If you are from Texas, chances are you'll see a relative on stage in the form of one of the brilliant characters Joe or Jaston play. And both men play all 23 characters on stage - women included. Very, very funny stuff.
So that's it, Leaguers!!!!
The contest draws to a close. A Merry Christmas to you all. You can do your darndest to enjoy your prizes whenever i get around to actually picking something out. But that's what post-Holiday sales are for.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Finally saw Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
My review: Whooo-hooo! Yay!
I am hobbit-drunk. We started at 8:30 yesterday watching Fellowship extended edition DVD. We ended our day at 11:30pm after ROTK. We took breaks to ship presents and get lunch and stuff.
I am no longer objective. Hobbitses. The hobbitses are everywhere. AGGGGHHHHHH.
But you know what? Sometimes I like movies better when I'm not dissecting them and can no longer see the forest for the trees. There's a time and a place for deconstructing every frame of a movie. For me, today is not that time. Today I like the LOTR movies. HURRAY!!!!
And Oliphants shall haunt me in my dreams...
Oh, and the Spider-Man 2 preview had me giggling out loud. Dr. Octopus is so ridiculous, he's perfect. I cannot wait.