A helpful reader has corrected me on the topic of torndados removing chicken feathers. According to her... IF I could make a machine that reproduces a tornado's plucking effects, and IF people saw the machine in action and observed it was just like a movie... the correct name of the movie would be, "The Henpire Strikes back."
I appreciate being set straight, so thanks Governor Palin.
On the topic of movies, it's time to start watching the holiday classics. Starting with the big three (Wonderful Life, 34th Street, Christmas Carol) and moving out, there's a surprisingly large amount of solid material.
"The Bishop's Wife" for instance? The woodwork in that house deserved an Oscar, but Loretta Young is nice too. "Christmas in Connecticut" is wonderfully madcap, with that really deep bench of supporting players the old studio system could muster. "Remember the Night" is a shamefully underappreciated classic with a powerful message.
And of course the animation stuff. "Grinch." Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff and Dr. Seuss together. WOW!
Excuse me while I wipe joyful tears and recite a bit of verse worthy of Shakespeare, brought to pop culture via collaboration among a cartooner, a childrens' book author, and Frankenstein's monster...
It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
But as Shakespeare also wrote in that famous speech by Marc Anthony (not the pop singer but some Roman dude) "I come not to sieze her berry but to praise it." Or something like that.
So now I must speak (or type) of the most pervasively perniciously perverse work of holiday programming ever inflicted on the world; "Twas the night before Christmas."
I'm not kidding about the evil of it. Could one get a copy of the DVD, look closely because there just MUST be a '666' somewhere on that cover!!!
That cartoon starts with an adolescent mouse writing Santa to say neither he nor anyone in his town believes in Santa. Why anyone, even a mouse, would write to someone he doesn't believe exists, I dunno. So the apparently extremely thin skinned Santa decides to bypass the town.
Meeting the terrible prospect that the town's children might not get packages, boxes and bags that year, an intrepid clockmaker "springs" into action and "gears" up for the challenge. (That was a clockmaking joke, get it? Seriously, it slays the Swiss)
A huge clock is built that will play a song as Santa flies over. The chorus is...
Christmas chimes are calling Santa, Santa.
Christmas chimes say Santa, we need you today.
No, I haven't refreshed my memory on this indisputably insidiously inisipid bit of animated sewage. I don't have to! I STILL have flashbacks about it, two decades later! A really good memory is a BIT of a double edged sword.
Not to give away the pulse racing climax here? The adolescent mouse screws up the big clock, but at the last minute it gets fixed, and the children get their packages, boxes and bags.
Now what am I supposed to learn from this fearlessly ferociously fetid pile of steaming dog poop, this "Twas the night before Christmas"?
We learn important things from the great holiday classics. Like for instance?
Christmas Carol: You stink! But while you breathe, it's never too late to improve.
Miracle on 34th Street: Comes a time in each life when brain tells you one thing and heart tells you another. No guarantees, but sometimes if you ignore your heart, you'll miss an amazing experience.
It's a Wonderful Life: Never trust your alcoholic relatives with large sums of money.
That's stuff that enriches lives. What am I supposed to get from an adolescent mouse writing hate mail to someone he doesn't believe exists??? Let me see here...
1.) Never miss a chance to hurt somebody's feelings, even if you don't believe they exist.
2.) Santa Claus is an extremely insecure personality.
3.) When you've hurt another's heart, there's a public project to address it, rather than a simple, "Can we talk about this please?"
4.) Christmas is all about getting your packages, boxes and bags.
Well. In the words of Jesse Jackson, I deny the allegations and rebuke the alligators.
Hey, no kidding? I was recently accused of 'hate speech' from an e-mailer, due to my insistence on saying "Merry Christmas."
It's not about a mouse, this Christmas thing. I'm sure Governer Palin would agree with me on that. She can probably see Santa's workshop from her house.