Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 23, 2022


This week we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States.  It's a Federal holiday established for Americans to take a moment with family and friends and consider what good fortunes they've had over the year.  Or maybe count blessings in a year that wasn't so great.

 As kids we get a "teach the legend" version of Thanksgiving and believe that we're celebrating a feast partaken of by the weird-o's who were so miffed they couldn't comfortably be uptight enough in 17th Century Europe, and so essentially moved to an equivalent of what would be a moon colony for us, just so they could burn women as witches in peace.  They happened to have their asses saved by some locals, and giving Thanks seemed like a keen idea.

That comes loaded with the egregious history of how Europeans would then colonize and wage 300 years of war on the people already living here.  So, understandably, if that was what we were celebrating, I get how one would pause to reflect and wonder how this led to finishing dinner quickly to watch The Dallas Cowboys and/ or seeing how much wine is in the remaining bottles and keeping a slow burn til it's all over.

But that is not what we're celebrating.  This isn't Christmas which has deep roots in Christian history, or Hannukah which refers to a specific moment in Jewish history.  I don't think most Americans really think of Thanksgiving as a specific day to sit down in honor of Pilgrims and Native Americans.  That would be particularly weird.  

From the earliest days of the U.S., Thanksgiving was a tradition in regions, but not universally celebrated.  While some Presidents observed the holiday, as early as Jefferson, the holiday was eschewed as religious and therefore not a National holiday.    

Friday, December 18, 2009

WW Christmas

Normally I don't post cheesecake comic art, because I find it distasteful and believe it just reinforces some negative stereotypes about comics. But... Ah, heck. Why Not?

Wonder Woman for Christmas is okay by us

Just because. darn it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trail of Lights


Well, trying to keep our levels of Christmas Cheer set to "Jingle-riffic", Jamie and I headed to The Trail of Lights at Austin's Zilker Park.

The Trail of Lights faced a lot of challenges this year. In the spring, the city spent a truckload of money laying copper wire to enable better power for the mile long trail of lights. In the Summer, the City figured out somebody had come along and STOLEN all of the copper, likely for a tidy profit.

Then, ACL Fest was a bit rough on the lawn and the city is having to replant that grass, etc...

So... the Trail of Lights was renamed to "Zilker Tree Holiday Festival".

Jamie had fun.

The Zilker Tree is a longstanding tradition. Its actually several strands of lights attached to a Moon Tower, and while quite lovely from far away, the longstanding tradition is to get underneath the tree and spin until you barf. Good times.

I hadn't been to the Tree or the Trail of Lights in many, many years. Due to the challenges, the trail was a lot shorter this year, and on the other side of the park from the last time I was there. Also, they had like, five funnel cake stands.

Anyhow, we had a good time. And that's all you get for a post tonight.

Just look at Jamie. She's cute as a button.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays From The League!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Steans Family Christmas Carol

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Be Careful What You Wishbook For

My folks were not unwise. I recall many-a-conversation when they would ask "are you sure this is what you want?"

1 and 2) Dingbot and Verbot

You may remember the line of Robot toys from Tomy that hit stores in the mid-80's.

The four main toys were Dingbot, Verbot, OmniBot and OmniBot 2000.

Based on the commercials, I had high hopes for what these robots would do. I had visions of a robot buddy, a sort of Robot Friday that was going to be a bit of robot butler, side-kick and confidante. Seriously, look at this thing:

My folks, privy to my high-minded visions of how I believed the robots would work, talked me down to the lowest tier robot, DingBot. DingBot had no programmable features, but it sounded okay.

Here's a video of DingBot in action.

As you can imagine, the whole Butler/ Buddy thing didn't work out quite as I'd envisioned. It doesn't mean I didn't enjoy turning that thing on and watching it whack into walls, but I knew I'd just picked the wrong robot. My NEXT attempt would go better.

After all, the commercial for Verbot made it clear THIS was a robot that was going to listen to me:

Verbot never really worked correctly from Day 1. And, hey, funny thing. Every time you turned Verbot off and back on again, you had to reprogram the @#$%ing thing. Also, it didn't seem to particularly like my voice, so I spent a lot of time cursing at Verbot.

By 8th grade, I remember getting curious about what was actually inside Verbot, and taking him apart and putting him back together, at which point, ol' Verbot quit working at all. Wouldn't even turn on.

3) In 4th Grade, I got a Cabbage Patch Kid.

His name is Rhett Delbert, and I have no idea if he's in a box somewhere in my parent's house, or if he's been gifted via Salvation Army to some much-more worthy kid.

The Cabbage Patch craze sort of peaked when I was in 3rd grade, and in that way kids and readers of "Us" magazine do, I had to have an object because everyone else had that object. It was almost a check mark at the time more than any desire to have one. And, as a family we were often late to the party on this hip stuff, we sort of waited until the dust and tramplings cleared until I was a little too old for... dolls.

My grandparents had apparently secured the doll, and my folks made sure I knew they'd put themselves out to get this thing (and keep in mind, this is when people were literally getting killed wrestling for these dolls). So I knew I had to be extra appreciative.

So, yeah, there are some goofy pictures of me in these awful tan pajamas on Christmas,morning circa 1984 with this doll. The pictures themselves are doubly creepy to me because (a) I was really a big kid for my age. I was frequently mistaken for someone 2-3 years older than my age (these days, everyone assumes I'm in my 40's). So it looks like this pudgy 7th grader who is way, way too happy to have just received a doll. (b) I also was just getting to the point where I didn't really play with toys, per se, anymore. And I think I knew it when I opened that package, but the look of fulfilled avarice on that kid's face... anyway. I sort of hate that kid.

But I'd asked for this thing for two years, my grandparents had bought it, and I felt that I sort of needed to get my money out of the thing.

Nothing about the awkwardness of the situation was helped by having an older brother who made sure to point out I had a doll, or by the fact that a new kid who'd moved to town who I played with was really into his Cabbage Patch Kid. Which, in the end, was sort of helpful.

When I look at the thing, I remember with stunning clarity having the realization by sort of watching my friend that I really, really was past this particular part of my childhood. Because my folks have that "we built all this from nothing" work ethic, giving gifts was happily done, but we understood that we weren't one of the families that was getting new bikes every Christmas. Even then, I couldn't tell anyone that I had no idea what to do with a Cabbage Patch Kid once I had it. And I sure as @#$ couldn't ever let Jason know I, too, in my more lucid moments, thought this was a pretty dumb thing for a ten year old kid who didn't want to get his ass kicked to have in his possession.

The odd thing is, I am sure I found some way to play with that damn doll, but I have no idea what I did with it.

And so, after a while, poor 'ol Rhett Delbert, who never did nothing to nobody, got stuck in the back of my closet, right along with a whole lot of embarrassment.

#4) Laser Tag

It did not occur to me until AFTER Christmas morning that it was a very good thing that my friends had also asked for a system that you need at least two people to play. Sure, there were games that you could play by yourself, but they all were about as interesting as seeing if you could hit a spot on the wall with a flashlight.

Once again, the commercials looked totally awesome:

I had never been to "Photon" in Dallas, but I'd heard about how cool it was. That same Christmas that we all got Laser Tag, the Photon franchise released their own home-game version of their equipment which had the added bonus of noting that the only target on a person is rarely a red disc about the size of a coaster, and because it came witha helmet that registered shots from any direction, it also suggested (unlike Lazer Tag) that one could be shot from any direction.

Because we all had the same Lazer Tag equipment, in theory it was a level playing field. However, being 12 or so, the first thing we all set out to do was cheat, either by turning off our receptors immediately after the game started, or covering them or by changing the width of our beams (yeah, the guns were oddly sophisticated).

In the end, gameplay turned into all of us eying one another with suspicion and nobody trusting one another enough to NOT cheat the minute they were out of site.

In addition, to make Laser Tag half as cool as Photon, you had to start buying the multitude of accessories, and if everyone didn't have the same accessories, it immediately changed the playing field. And, while our folks could afford the starter kit, nobody's folks were going to shell out an extra lump of cash for the helmet, rifle, etc...

Photon, by the way, just looked cool.

Looked cool, that is, unless you were a kid in a helmet designed for adults. When all the rest of us got Laser Tag, this kid Dave got Photon, and he looked sort of like a crazy person with all the wires and gear hanging off of him. Especially when he was playing with his 7 year old sister.

That not too specific language in the Photon commercial was their way of saying "dummy, if you buy Lazer Tag, you have to buy all the peripheral crap, and none of it is synched like our system". Nonetheless, both more or less failed.

But we atill have a place called "Blazer Tag" very near Jamie's dialysis clinic that I always threaten to take her to.


The Rebel Transport toy from Kenner
? Was totally awesome.

yes, it was usually used in scenes of role-played cowardice as I evacuated Rebel bases, but it was fun.

Also fun?

My blue Team Murray BMX bike I got in, I think, 2nd grade.

I was officially too old for Teddy Ruxpin when the talking bear debuted, but that didn't mean I didn't want to see how one worked. I was sad to see that Teddy Ruxpin's moving animatronic parts took the cues from electronic tones on the audio tapes. However, a more cheaply made competitor, the Cricket doll, simply responded to whatever sounds were on the tape. Once my friend Todd and I discovered this, we spent hours finding ways to make Cricket insist to Todd's sister that she was possessed by Satan, and that one dark night, she would choke the life out of her and turn her into a doll.

Ah, good times.

Rock It, Bing

Pretty much exactly what one sees at League HQ come Christmas time.

Leaguers may not know, but I once had an affinity for the vocal stylings of Mr. Bing Crosby. It has greatly informed my approach to singing Christmas Carols. Except... I can't sing. So... it gets interesting.

This clip is from "Holiday Inn", which will run on cable over the Holidays. There are some seriously dodgy moments in the movie when it comes to race-relations of the time, and some versions cut out a particularly questionable sequence (the film loses nothing, and its about as offensive of a scene as you're likely to find).

Anyhow, Crosby's cover of "White Christmas" is one of the best selling records of all time, and, in fact, spawned a movie entitled "White Christmas", also starring Crosby. Both are a good way to kill an hour or so over the Holidays.

Crosby was considered a bit of a heart-throb in his day, and had a mind-blowingly long career, spanning around 5 full decades, dominating the charts for much of the pre-Rock-n'Roll era. He was, in fact, a hero of Sinatra's before Sinatra was Sinatra.

Anyhow, here's Bing and Bowie.

Throw in David Byrne, and this video would literally melt my brain.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Krampus + Lost Venture Bros. = Awesome

So, I'm kind of counting on the fact that my folks never watch the videos I put on here to work in my favor, so... seriously, those of a sensitive nature. Don't click here.

I also don't know how many of you watch The Venture Bros. on Cartoon Network, but its become one of my favorite shows. Just... don't expect me to explain Dr. Girlfriend, or the fact that her voice doesn't phase me anymore at all.

But a few years back, it seems they produced a Christmas Special. I'd never heard of it until today, when The Dug recalled seeing it as it features... The Krampus!

So, if you want to see the first animated appearance of the Krampus in the US that I'm aware of, click here. Just be aware that... Venture Bros. is aimed at non-emotionally-mature adults.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Neil Diamond Brings It Home For the Holidays

found at Pop Candy

Colbert/ Krampus/ The League - WTF?

So, this is @#$%ing BIZARRE.

A week ago, co-worker Dan Z. started telling me all about Krampus, and we all had a good laugh about terrorizing his children. I actually wrote my Krampus post while watching Glee on my DVR, starting around 9:30. So... yeah.

Now Colbert, in my final two weeks here at The League, is making me look like I'm copying stuff off TV and passing it off as my own.

Anyway, seems last night around 10:30 central time, Stephen Colbert and the Colbert Report aired this (skip to 2:34):

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Blitzkrieg on Grinchitude - Hallmark & Krampus
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

I'm kind of freaking out.

Obviously Colbert Report tapes well before airing.

I... just don't know what to make of this. Is it possible it is, in fact, time for Krampus in America?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More Disturbing Yuletide Joy

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Christmas Totally Needs Krampus

My co-worker, Dan, recently informed me of something that I really want to start working into my Holiday season.

Apparently in Germany there used to be a tradition in early December that, in order to get little kids to behave in the Holiday seasons operated on the "more stick, less carrot" model. Germans, being Germans, had cooked up a surefire way of managing their kids by scaring the bejeezus out of bad kids with a fellow named Krampus (complete with horns, fangs, etc...) who came by in early December with Santa to warn little bad kids about how rotten they were, and apparently rattle chains and pop them with birch branches.

I'm not clear if an early December birch-thwacking was it for the kids, and if they still got apples in their shoes on December 25th or whatever the little stone age German kids used to get for Christmas, but I think we could work something out if we wanted to bring Krampus into the modern American Christmas.

Wouldn't this look awesome as an inflatable lawn decoration?

I like the idea that Santa and this Krampus guy can operate on a good cop/ bad cop model in a way that kids can wrap their heads around. It certainly puts a whole new spin on Santa when you consider that he seems to endorse Krampus's @#$%ed-up shenanigans.

Anyway, I guess in some parts of Alpine Germany, people still do this Krampus thing.

You know St. Nick thinks its totally hilarious to have a jack-ass side kick who makes those ungrateful little miscreants sweat a little

Oh, Germany. You are a font of never-ending old-school terror.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The League Watches: Santa Buddies

There are a few types of movies which are produced with the Yuletide Season in mind. There are true, heartfelt holiday pictures which have become classics, such as "A Christmas Story" or those with a moral underpinning, such as "It's a Wonderful Life". There are broad comedies which use the annual festivities as a backdrop to explore the foibles of the average person, with varying degrees of success ("Jingle All the Way", "Christmas with the Cranks"). Some employ high-end CGI, namebrand actors and the Santa-related Christmas mythology to bring alive the "wonder" of Christmas ("Fred Claus", "Elf"). There are even the oddly sentimental and saccharine made-for-TV Holiday movies in which 30 and 40-somethings find romance, which hit CBS each December as regularly as fruitcake arrives by mail.

And then there are the endless stream of cheerless, mirthless, low-fi, relying-on-the-tropes-of-the-holiday, pushed through the Hollywood sausage mill, "magic of Christmas" films, almost all of which feature a long-out-of-work former-star as Santa.

"Santa Buddies" is Disney's ninth installment in the lucrative "Air Bud" franchise, which was once a simple tale of a dog who could shoot free-throws (and the boy who loved him). In this day and age, an adorable thoroughbred dog with an amazing talent is as useful to your Nintendo-DS-addled hottentots as a Smith-Corona ribbon. Lest the Hollywood studios lose a dime from haggard mothers looking for fifteen minutes of peace while their rugrats glue themselves to the screen in the back of the Caravan, Disney has gleefully kept the franchise up to date. Having jettisoned the sports-playing Bud of the first five movies, "Santa Buddies" represents the fourth installment to feature several deeply CGI-ed puppies who comment and wise-crack their way through the film and have Disney-approved stereotypes assigned to each of them, with the requisite attitude-imbued slang appropriate for each "character".

In this movie (in which, clearly, nobody is even @#$%ing trying), there's "Buddha", the openly hostile take on non-Judeo-Christian concepts of spirituality. "MudBud" is... dirty. And possibly a redneck. "Budderball" is the one who is into sports, so he's also kind of slow and really into food. "RoseBud" is the only female, and thus complexly coded as being interested in fashion and who likely believes math is hard. And, the nails-on-a-chalkboard "B-Dawg", whom you can expect your kids to parrot until Easter. Voiced by peppy child-actor Skyler Gisondo, "B-Dawg" is the hip-hop-slang toting, diamond-encrusted-medallion-wearing, embodiment of America's issues with race, culture and identity. But you shall truly feel your heart soar when B-Dawg's nose glows red and he proclaims "my nose is shining! Like my bling!".

Oh, B-Dawg!

Let it be noted: the Buddies are mostly a backdrop to a the goings-on at The North Pole where the massive frozen phallus by which Santa Claus* and Santa Paws take the measure of the level of Christmas Spirit is twinkling/ melting away. Viewers may be shocked to learn that for the purposes of our story, and reasons Santa and Santa don't get into, the world's Christmas Spirit just isn't what it used to be.

Santa Paws is, of course, Dog Santa, who delivers presents to good puppies**, and rides shotgun in Santa's sleigh. Somehow, the heir of Santa Paws, Puppy Paws (yes. Puppy Paws. It's a sort of six-degrees-of-separation thing you're better off not pondering too hard) just wants to be a "normal" puppy, and can give a toss for elves, magic, and the awkward glee that is veteran Little Person actor Danny Woodburn (of Seinfeld fame) looking like he cannot believe he's been roped into the part of Eli, the Only Competent Elf.

Anyone in this image could have had a potty accident

From a technical stand-point, the North Pole, the eight reindeer, and the Fortress of Solitude-like cave hosting the ice-phallus are all the finest CGI that could be rendered on a MacBook Pro in late 2001. Its likely writer/ director/ producer Robert Vince told himself that the unforgiveably awful graphics created a "storybook" look-and-feel, in order that he could sleep at night and still call himself a "filmmaker". Consumers buying this DVD should feel comforted that its just as likely that the intended audience of kids who think you disappear when you play "peek-a-boo" and hide behind your hands, will not notice the poor CGI. But one might (vainly) hope that a company built on animation such as Disney would have maybe tried a bit harder.

If writer/ director/ producer Vince*** does deserve a tip of the hat, its that the Buddies and Puppy Paws, all real-deal and seemingly not-dead-and-taxidermized puppies, actually sit still long enough for the necessary coverage to complete scenes. Forget all else about this movie, but watch in earnest amazement as Vince's leads do not just randomly tumble past the camera and give in to chasing their own tail.

Among the group with whom this reviewer watched the film there were, of course, theories floated, including the exclusive use of extremely tired pups, drugged pups, pups glued to some sort of mat, etc... But as this is Vince's 13th or 14th film featuring animals, one has to assume the man knows exactly what he can get out of any animal in Hollywood. And that Lassie must be sending him boudoir photos trying to get work with the man.

To get our plot shaking, for reasons that make no real sense, Puppy Paws identifies "Budderball" from Santa Paws' "Naughty List" as what a "normal" pup must be like (despite his omnipresent sports jersey and eye-black). Thus, he stows away to bum a ride in a surprisingly racist magical mail truck to the Buddies' fictional hometown of Fernfield, Washington, where he plans to join forces with "Budderball" and become "normal" as well.

The plot is fairly boiler-plate kiddie-faire, and should keep your wee-ones entertained, provided their standard for an hour's worth of amusement begins and ends with bright colors and shiny objects.

There's a non-menacing Christopher Lloyd, phoning in his performance as the curmudgeonly dog catcher just trying to make a profit. There's a semi-frightening/ cute puppy who delivers the film's chance to hit fast-forward with an original Christmas tune, and a kid who just wants a puppy, but Dad can't afford Christopher Lloyd's sky-high prices (which makes one wonder what happens when the dog needs to go to the vet, but lets not pick nits).

The movie delivers no shortage of lessons for our younger viewers, such as: run away from the new kid if he doesn't immediately fit in, people in far off lands all celebrate Christmas and live in easily stereo-typed ethnic homes, and that it isn't worth it to try to make friends with someone unless they have magical powers.

This reviewer found it somewhat striking that he became genuinely lost during a crucial point in the film in which Puppy Paws has supposedly learned a lesson about what Christmas really means. Perhaps because the lesson was delivered in a shrilly delivered song, I missed something, but it seemed unclear how "Santa Buddies" decided to define the meaning of Christmas, as no character dared to utter the lesson aloud again.

Part of the interesting mix of "Santa Buddies" is that, like most Christmas movies, the film was based almost entirely in a secular and magical world of elves, talking dogs, flying sleighs, etc... But the film also makes awkward attempts to appeal to the large audience "keeping Christ in Christmas", including scenes of characters praying, etc... This would seemingly raise the stakes for defining "the spirit of Christmas" as more than a warm fuzzy and colored lights, and there is some hint regarding charity, but its somewhat fuzzy and seemingly tied to how much you like being licked by puppies.

These puppies are stupid and I hate them

Its perhaps expecting too much for a movie about Santa's canine parallel's prodigal-son to say much about the human/ canine condition, or to ask that any message about the meaning of the Holiday be put into concrete terms, but there seemed no real transition from Puppy Paws' abandonment of his destiny and giving up and going home (ie: finding the spirit of Christmas). However, if Hollywood is intent on making Christmas film after Christmas film which insists that "people have lost the true meaning of Christmas", it would be nice to have a movie which didn't resolve the problem with fictional intangibles like "if Puppy Paws can just come back, we can deliver the presents/ save Christmas!", and perhaps do a bit more in the vein of "A Christmas Carol" or "It's a Wonderful Life" to recognize charity and giving.

This is by no means the worst Christmas movie you may see this year. That's what ABC Family and the Hallmark Channel are here to provide. Nor is it the worst Christmas movie ever made. That distinction is currently held by the 1996 feature, "Santa with Muscles". Kids may enjoy the puppies and their non-stop stream of mistaking saying-things-that-other-people-say for humor or something anybody actually wants to hear.

Its tough to imagine a world in which an adult might watch this movie and derive non-ironic joy from the viewing, but people are into all sorts of things, I suppose. Let us just say that I have lived a life the way a man is supposed to, and never believed it possible to hate an adorable puppy.

But God help me, I hate B-Dawg.

Fo' shizzle.

This reviewer would suggest that, perhaps, when seeking out holiday entertainment you may wish to look elsewhere for a video which may not be the filmic equivalent of feeding your kids nothing but creme-filled doughnuts for a week.

Luckily, Robert Vince is no man to rest on his laurels. IMDB promises that a second installment in the now ever-expanding world of Air Bud/ the Buddies/ Puppy Paws will be arriving next year under the name "The Search for Santa Paws".

*It should be noted that "Cheers" alum George Wendt, who played Santa in last year's "A Colbert Christmas", in 2007's "Larry the Cable Guy's Christmas Spectacular" and in a TV movie entitled "Santa Baby" in 2006, reprises his role as Santa Claus. He, however, looks a bit pale and ghastly throughout, and several times I wondered if Mr. Claus were not fighting off a flu or suffering low blood sugar. While comforting to know Mr. Wendt and his agent have locked up "Santa" as a role for the next few years and found a role Wendt can take well into retirement, it has created an odd alternate world of entertainment where the Buddies, Stephen Colbert, and Larry the Cable Guy all share the same Santa, who is Jenny McCarthy's dad.

**I assume all cats are either Jewish or Shintoist and do not participate in the Holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

***A long, slow clap, then, for the career of Mr. Robert Vince. For without his talents, its' not just that we would never have had the films "Most Valuable Primate", but also "Most Vertical Primate" and the unforgettable "Most Xtreme Primate".

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Post Holiday and into the Holidays

Howdy, Leaguers!

What a holiday! I am not at all ready to head back into work tomorrow, but head back in, I shall.

Wednesday evening Doug and Kristen arrived from Berkeley, and we met up for a small family dinner of Tex-Mex.

Thursday was the big day. You've seen photos, and I briefly posted on the Texas A&M/ Univ. of Texas game. Holy smokes. An amazing roller-coaster of a game. TAMU fans have a lot to look forward to next year, especially as UT goes through a re-building year with the loss of McCoy, Shipley, Houston, et al.

Friday we went to the Alamo South to watch "The Fantastic Mr. Fox", which was even better than I had heard. It's difficult to point to exactly why the movie hit a chord with me, but a smart script, great animation, well-defined characters, etc... and Wes Anderson's always great use of music (Wilson's "Heroes and Villains" appears early on), made for a very satisfactory movie-going experience.

Afterwards, we hit "The Highball", which is Austin's new bowling alley/ bar/ restaurant from the creators of the The Alamo. It was actually a lot of fun. Jamie and Doug rocked at skee-ball. I enjoyed the heck out of my "Dr. Pepper Ribs". Not sure Jamie felt the same (we shared).

We followed all this with a viewing of "Santa Buddies", Disney's 9th installment in the largely straight-to-home-video "Air Bud"/ "Buddies" series of films. This was done somewhat on a dare when Leaguer Nathan C., a station manager at San Antonio's Texas Public Radio sent me a screener-copy of the movie. I now owe Nathan and the city of San Antonio an honest review of "Santa Buddies".

The next day we hit Mary's Taco X-Press (which was amazingly un-crowded), visited South Congress (and "Hey Cupcake"), then went for dinner at Jamie's folks' place in San Marcos.

This was followed by a screening of "D War: Dragon Wars", which you may recall we discussed at some point in 2008. The movie is no better, but was significantly assisted by RiffTrax. But I felt that if Doug was going to watch the movie, he should really do so with someone who had been there mentally and emotionally.

This morning we had fake-McBride-Christmas as Doug and K will not be in Austin for the Holidays. Some gifts were exchanged, we had a wonderful Christmas-morning breakfast (including Holiday tunes), and we made merry.

One gift which had been bestowed was a copy of the new Super Mario Bros for the Wii, which I am thoroughly enjoying (even if I'm awful at it). We also received a popcorn popper and a pair of DVD's.

Also watched the Tennessee Vince Youngs play the Arizona Leinarts, complete with a last-second VY pass into the endzone for the victory.

A good weekend.

This afternoon and evening, Jamie and I put up our interior decorations for Christmas, so we are quasi-ready for the Holidays. With Scout having her first Christmas here, and with her needing space for her crate, we opted for no tree this year. A bit sad, perhaps, but I'd rather not risk Scout deciding to eat a fake tree, grab glass ornaments, etc...

I hope your Holiday was a good one.

Now, on to Christma-Hannakwanzaa.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day 2009

Judy and Dick knocked themselves out on Turkey Day this year. A fantastic spread with a delicious turkey at the center, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, home-made rolls, cranberries, a fantastic addition of stewed tomatoes via K's family (like, dessert good), pumpkin and chocolate pies...

Anyway, we Americans (and many in the west) are lucky to have so much, and that's something I think was on many minds. KareBear just returned from Kenya where she was be-spectacling folks in need of eye glasses, and its good to have that kind of touchstone to know that we live differently, and not to forget that there's a reason to be grateful and give thanks.

This was Dug and K's first Thanksgiving with us as a married couple, and also our first Turkey Day with Ciera as part of the family. She's a firecracker, and smart. Its fun to spend time with her.

Here's a photo Jason took of the partially assembled family as we make our plates.

from left: Cousin Sue, KareBear, Judy, Jamie, me smashing a plate on Dug's head, Dug, The Admiral getting into the turkey.

Prior to the dinner, some met up at Jason's to carpool south to Dick and Judy's. Ciera has been taking guitar lessons. Here she plays some tunes on Jason's guitar.

After dinner, I tossed around a football and frisbee with Ciera, Jamie and Kristen, then watched the Cowboys game. It was very All-American, which is kind of how we roll on Thanksgiving.

Then Northward where many of us met up to watch the UT game, gnash teeth, and finally collapse in relief when TAMU missed that final field goal. Every darn year that game is unpredictable, and no matter how TAMU has played all season, UT fans know that the rivalry may be friendly, but when its at Kyle Field, the Aggies are not kidding about this 12th Man business.

Poor Scout is afraid of the noise the people make during the games. She was alternately seeking attention and hiding all evening.

Hope you guys had a great Turkey Day. I'm thankful for having such an amazing family, and am really looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Macy's Parade

Somehow I had totally forgotten that Thursday isn't just Thanksgiving, its the Macy's Parade. The League LOVES the parade no less now than when we were 7 years old. And now, we have a much greater appreciation of The Rockettes. Always the highlight of the parade for this avid viewer.

I skip the local parades every year as I know they can't hold a candle to 50 foot Snoopy, Disney-approved child-talent lip-synching in the cold and marching bands from across the US.

An extra thrill this year: they've had to change the route, and a lot of people are predicting that the balloons can't make the turn at one point. It is going to be AWESOME.

Also, Rockettes!

The parade also is the catalyst for holiday staple "Miracle on 34th Street", which is a favorite here at League HQ. It features Santa on trial for his sanity and the always foxy Maureen O'Hara. What's not to like?

Santa, you can give me a linebacker's shoulder pads and make me terribly attractive. Oh, wait. I have those things.

So I'll be up and tuning in. And shouting profanities at Meredith Viera, who just dumbs the whole thing up when she hosts.

Turkey Day approaches

Oh, evolution. You are the cruelest @#$%& of them all.

Short post as I assume many have taken the day and nobody should be ruining their holiday reading this blog, anyway.

Dug and K are coming into town tomorrow. Our first Turkey Day with them as a married couple. But this is also going to be the first Holiday with what's going to be the configuration for our family for quite a while.

As you may know, Jamie's folks are living in San Marcos, and my own folks have a home in N. Austin, where they plan to retire. Jason is living here, of course, and Cousin Sue and Ciera live in N. Austin. So we're all going to be able to see each other with a minimum of traveling (aside from poor Dug and K., because I don't see this whole operation heading to Berkeley for a couple of years, so eastward they'll come).

So Thursday should be food, Dallas Cowboys and the UT/ TAMU game.

I am thankful for a lot of stuff this year, not the least is that Scout is home and safe, and relatively unharmed.

Here's a list of things The League is thankful for:

1. League-Pals and Leaguers. You know who you are, and we salute you.
2. A not-insane family. Seriously. Thank you for not being crazy.
3. Dogs and cats.
4. A job that I am amazed I am still happy to walk into each and every day (and where you never know what the day will bring)
5. Size 14 socks.
6. Jamie.
7. A super-lifestyle.
8. Not ever winding up on "Cheaters".
9. No zombies.
10. Twilight romance weird, but not as weird as Godzilla star-crossed lovers story.

We'll be back soon and will most likely post intermittently.