Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas wrap up... part 3

I love this gift wrap. I don't recall what was in it anymore, but the paper was delightfully retro:



I went to a few Christmas concerts this year. The first one was a barbershop choir:



It cost $50 a ticket, but you ate delicious food and you got to hear wonderful singing.

I noticed that my party (wife, kid & I) were the only ones that didn't have a family member up on the risers.

I guess that we were the only ones that wanted to see a guy with a giant mustache sing about the birth of Christ even if he wasn't my uncle.

I also saw a grade school concert:



My nephew was in this one. I tried to get a photo where I could see him, but that didn't happen.
No giant mustaches here, and no mention of Jesus or even Christmas.
This was a public school so that means you get tons of talk of snow and winter, but little else.

I know talk of "The War on Christmas" or whatever it's called angers some peeps, and I don't feel like doing that. But it really felt like no one mentioning the elephant in the room and awkwardly beating around the bush.

It felt like people trying to point out your fly is down without saying it.

I think I just compared the birth of our savior with a zipper. I better move on:



This was a concert in Princeton NJ featuring Santa playing a harpsichord (I think) and Snowy the Snowman dancing.

Here see how it looks from another angle:




Similar.



I also went to Sesame Place's Furry Christmas about a dozen times and saw multiple Christmas themed shows with muppets dancing and talking about snow and Santa.

On Christmas Eve I dressed as Santa, read "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and I ate fish.

The feast of the seven fishes is an Italian tradition and being Italian (and hungry) I ate seven different types of sea creatures.

It was ordinary stuff like crab & shrimp for the most part. Back when my grandma was around we got the more exotic stuff like eel.

Not sure what I'd prefer.





I also spent an afternoon listening to Christmas records. Everything from classics with Bing Crosby to a wacky Christmas mystery record with Scooby Doo.

But that's not all!

To be continued... again.

Seriously, I intended to put this all into one post. I just had too much fun for one post!

Hopefully the next one will be last.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas wrap up... part 2

Yeah, Christmas was grand. I wrote something or other about it the other day, but it's a distant memory. Probably wasn't very good.

Here is the Christmas village I have in my house:






It's not one of those pricey sets you see at those high end Christmas shops, I got these all after Xmas '08 for half price at Walmart & Walgreens (from a clerk named Wally with his cousin Walter from Wallingford... tee hee hee.)

Still looks pretty lit up:







Wow. That picture sucks. Trust me, they look better in person.

My village has an extra touch in the back:







Yep, Santa ain't the only one coming to town!

Speaking of Santa:







I got this back in 2002. Its a 4 foot tall dancing Santa. I remember seeing them everywhere in 2002. Haven't seen another since.

Mine wears a WWE Nexus hat (shhh, don't tell him they broke up) and a Red Man chewing tobacco fanny pack.





He stands next to my Festivus pole. If the "Festivus yes! Bagels no!" sign makes no sense to you, go watch that Seinfeld episode again.





I have a nativity set in my house at Christmas, and no, I don't let Godzilla near it.

I put up a bunch of trees every year. They are all fake and I love them just fine that way.







Above is the main tree in the house loaded with ornaments (mostly of the wacky pop culture sort.)






This is a great tree I picked up at Walmart for $20. The stuffed animals are just stuffed into the tree. It made for a good way to display the dozens of Xmas plush we seem to acquire.






This is a pretty standard tree. Lights, garland and bulbs. The tree is actually black. Looks nice.
Across the room is a small table top tree decorated the same. I didn't take a picture of it. Just imagine a simple tree.
Actually, since you are imagining it... make it amazing.





In my hall I have this little tree flanked by bric-a-brac.




Finally I put this little retro blue tree on the kitchen table which slowly becomes covered in Christmas cards as the season progresses. I don't send out any cards. I'm a jerk.







I also have a carousel horse wearing a blue hat & flowered leis. There is a muppet on his back.

This has nothing to do with Christmas, I just wanted to share.

Christmas is much more than decorations, I went places, did things and watched others do things... but it will have to wait for another day.

Peace out, homies.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas wrap up... part 1


Wow, I had a delightful Christmas season this year... and it's not totally over yet. I still have a few more visits to Sesame Place's Furry Christmas event scheduled before 2012 strikes.




For me, the Christmas season starts the day after Halloween, but kicks into gear on Thanksgiving morning when I attend the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade.





If you haven't seen it, it's really similar to the Macy's Parade in NY. In fact, Philadelphia's parade pre-dates that and is the oldest in the country.

Then I watch tv & movies. Lots and lots of em.




From Thanksgiving till New Years day I try and see as many Christmas programs as possible. This year I watched such Xmas classics as A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone & Frosty the Snowman.

I watched some lesser classics like Batman Returns, Elmo Saves Christmas, Surviving Christmas & The He-Man & She-Ra Christmas.

I also watched some total duds like Alphabots Christmas, Laverne & Shirley's Christmas & Star Wars Holiday Special & The Santa Buddies... but honestly, I loved em all!

For the past several years I have hosted a 12 hour Christmas marathon and this years was a doozy... packed with snowmen, Santas, wookies & Judy Garland it was a total blast.

I collect Xmas shows and this year my DVR is maxed out with holiday episodes of Lawrence Welk, G. I. Joe, Family Ties & Wonder Years.

On December 23rd I was outside in the front of the crowd at Neil Cavuto's Christmas show on Fox. It was fun to see me on tv without hearing a newscaster saying "he was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. The restaurant was forced to throw away all the pizza."













This year I started (and continued) a handful of traditions. On Christmas Eve I read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas". I also tried Christmas wafers and ate fish. But we can talk about that later. Right now I feel like ditching these pants and getting a pizza...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Karen the gifts...

I have watched a bunch of Christmas themed sitcom episodes this month, and I watched most of the Cheers episodes that squeezed some yuletide cheer into the plot.








But my favorite Cheers Christmas moment was not in one of these episodes. It was in a regular season 4 episode called "Cliffie's Big Score.

Take a gander:

Woody Boyd: [the telephone at the bar rings and Woody picks it up] Cheers. [pauses to listen] Yes ma'am, right away.

Woody Boyd: [to Carla] There's some lady screaming her head off.

Carla Tortelli: What she want?

Woody Boyd: I don't know. All I can make out was two-timing.

Carla Tortelli: [yells] Sam. Telephone.

Carla Tortelli: Woody, listen up and learn something.

Sam Malone: [Woody hands the telephone to Sam] Sammy here.

Sam Malone: Oh, hey, I thought you'd like those flowers.

Sam Malone: Yeah, no, no, that sounds like my note, "Thanks for a wonderful evening Barbara, I had a great time."

Sam Malone: Well of course I know your name's Karen.

Sam Malone: Ah, you know, I see your mistake here. You see, you didn't realize that to me Barbara means Karen.

Sam Malone: Well, because, because, ah, because Barbara reminds me of Barbra Streisand, and you know that song about people.

Sam Malone: Well, I am getting to it. Um, you know the line "first be a person who needs people"? Well, who was the first person?

Sam Malone: Well, all right, no, no, the first female person was Eve. And who's the most famous Eve of all but Christmas Eve, right?

Sam Malone: Yeah, what do you do on Christmas Eve but you go carolin', right?

Sam Malone: No, I know, I know your name's not Caroline. But after you go carolin', what you do is you 'karen' in the gifts.

Sam Malone: Yeah, yeah, well, apology accepted, sweetheart. Talk to you in a bit.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Vespa from When In Rome

Do you know what a Vespa is? Do you recall the movie "When In Rome"?
Neither do I, but about 2 years ago I saw this car at Disney's El Capitain Theatre.

Yep. That's all I got for ya today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Star Wars Holiday Special


Happy Life Day, peeps.

Alpha-Bots Christmas




Oh my. Words fail me.

Well, not entirely. But The Alpha-Bots Christmas is one of the strangest things I have ever watched. Strange in an amazingly awesome way.
It starts off with a news bulletin. In black and white for some reason. I'm not sure if this is supposed to indicate that this takes place in the past.
There are some new robots that are now available. 26 of 'em. A-Z. They charge in the box. That's important. Remember that.
Then we see an old time radio and we hear the news bulletin again.
I am confused about the old time radio and black & white footage, but it's the least of our worries.

Oh yeah, they charge in the box, don't forget?
Then Santa shows up and talks to Z-bot. Z-bot wants to go and play, but Santa insists he stay in the box. He charges in the box, you know.
For a product that charges in the box, I am surprised that the box is a simple flimsy cardboard box.
Poor planning.
Then bots A through Y show up and ask him to come play. It's around this time that I noticed that Z-Bot sounds like Orko.
Z-bot insists on staying home. He'd like to play, but Santa is a control freak.
The other 25 bots sail around the neighborhood.

This is how they play. Just flying around. Don't get me wrong, I can't fly, so I would be awesome to fly around the neighborhood... I just expected some rowdier play from these robots.

Something more fun. Like when other robots romp around in movies like Terminator.
About ten seconds later they get bored and go back to Z-bot. They figure they will play with him at his house.
Then they start to slowly spell out letters as Z-bot reads the letter back.
By letter "C" I started thinking that they wouldn't do the whole alphabet. They couldn't... could they?
Yep.

What happens next? Well, you have to watch to find out.

But remember, they charge in the box.

Scroll back up for the video if you dare. Or just close this page and move on with your life. Makes no difference to me.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Christmas Marathon

Every year before Christmas I run a marathon of Christmas shows at my house.

The marathon runs for 12 hours and I have done it 5 times.

Tomorrow will be the 6th annual marathon.

I have a home theater that seats about 20 comfortably. It seats about 26 uncomfortably.






The schedule changes every year and there are very few shows that have been repeated over the past decade.

Friends & family come and go throughout the day some staying for just one or two shows, others sitting through 3 or 4 hours. Only I have stayed tuned for the whole marathon.

I don't show movies, just shows and specials. I try and make the variety of programs vast and emphasize the obscure over the traditional.

I didn't keep a list of the shows we watched for the first few years, but I am fairly certain I have never shown any of the shows on this year's schedule before... except The Jeffersons Christmas episode. It's the one where George is mysteriously dropping gifts off to another family. I played that in the year two marathon (I think.)

The final program on the schedule this year is "The Star Wars Holiday Special"... but for the sanity of myself and my guests I have edited the special... a lot.

My VHS tape ran 2 hours. I cut it down to 43 minutes. It's still awful, but its a fun campy awful... not a slit your wrists awful.

Below you will find the schedule for this year:

12:00pm 1976 Captain & Tennille Christmas (50 minutes)

12:50pm 2001 Jay Jay the Jet Plane – Jay Jay’s Christmas Surprise (15 minutes)

1:05pm 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas (25 minutes)

1:35pm 1991 Rugrats Christmas (25 minutes)

2:00pm 2005 The Alpha Bots – Christmas (29 minutes)

2:30pm 1996 Elmo Saves Christmas (58 minutes)

3:30pm 1995 Mary-Kate & Ashley - The Case of the Christmas Caper (25 min)

3:55pm 1952 Jack Benny Christmas Show- (Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy) (25 minutes)

4:20pm 1977 The Jeffersons: 984 W 124 Street Apt 5C (25 minutes)

4:50pm 1990 The Frugal Gourmet: Colonial Christmas (60 minutes)

5:50pm 1978 Christmas at Walt Disney World (50 minutes)

6:45pm 1960 The Twilight Zone – Night of the Meek (25 minutes)

7:15pm 1991 Back to the Future: Dickens of a Christmas (25 minutes)

7:40pm 1969 The Brady Bunch The Voice of Christmas (25 minutes)

8:05pm 1954 Meet Corliss Archer: The Christmas Presents (25 minutes)

8:30pm 1981 Alice –Mel’s Christmas Carol (23 minutes)

9:00pm 1981 A Chipmunk Christmas (25 minutes)

9:30pm 1963 The Judy Garland Show Christmas (59 minutes)

10:30pm 1977 Good Times: Penny’s Christmas (23 minutes)

10:45pm 1955 The Honeymooners Twas the Night Before Christmas (25 minutes)

11:15pm 1970 Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town (Rankin Bass) (47 minutes)

12:00am 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special (43 minutes-edited)

It should be a blast! In addition to the shows on the schedule I have a couple DVDs of shorts that I squeeze in whenever I am ahead of schedule.

The shorts include vintage Christmas cartoons, trailers for Christmas films and some odd silent Christmas footage from the Edison film company.

So, now you know what I am doing tomorrow. I will try and tweet a little during the marathon. But I can't promise much. I bet my brain will turn into gingerbread halfway through Captain & Tennile's version of Jingle Bells.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Photos of Mr. T on eBay

I am a big fan of Mr. T.
I have been a fan since I was a kid sitting in my pajamas on Saturday morning eating Mr. T cereal as I watched the Mister T cartoon.

Yeah.

They spelled out "Mister" for the cartoon.
I don't know why.

Checking eBay I found some amazing photos. I guess a better word than amazing would be weird. I don't have too much to say about these, but I wanted to share.
This is Mr. T together with Emmanual Lewis. It's a promo for the amazing Christmas special "A Christmas Dream.
You can buy it here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-MR-T-EMMANUEL-LEWIS-Original-Photo-1984-/110481648067?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19b93829c3#ht_500wt_1055

God, eBay links are ugly.

You know what ISN'T ugly? This:

Hogan and Mr. T butting heads and for some reason Mr. T has Hogan's world title.
Go for it:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/GC05-Body-Slam-HULK-HOGAN-MR-T-Television-Press-Still-/390369533386?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5ae3d65dca#ht_1796wt_1039

At first glance this looks totally normal. But what the hell is Dick Clark doing? He's holding a couple rods and making a face like he was caught by a fish hook.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dick-Clark-Mr-T-7x9-Photo-B2820-/120708736873?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1acd2769#ht_484wt_1430

Prior to Rocky 3 and The A-Team, Mr. T appeared on the show "Games People Play" as part of a World's Toughest Bouncer. Of course he won.

They had a little person tossing contest. Wonder if Mr. T considered tossing Webster in the Christmas special.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mr-T-Games-People-Play-Original-7x9-Photo-C4326-/120788664478?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1f90c09e#ht_500wt_1055

Mr. T and Bob Hope hula dancing. Yep. This was part of "Bob Hope's Wicki-Wacky Special From Waikiki, Hawaii".
Nothing I could add would even be noticed by any of you at this point. I assume you are in a state of shock.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bob-Hope-Mr-T-A-Team-7x9-Photo-B3032-/110671871051?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c48ebc4b#ht_484wt_1430

This appears to be Mr. T giving Ed McMahon 5 million dollars. Then he butted heads with him and tossed him... I hope.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ed-Mcmahon-Mr-T-Original-8x10-Photo-C7369-/110784518953?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19cb459b29#ht_500wt_1055


Michael Jackson punching Mr. T. One of the cool things about this photo is that Mr. T is holding all of his gold chains. The chains he wore on A-Team were designed to have 1 hook in the back for all of them. That's why he can hold 'em with one hand.


What a fantastic group of pictures. I hope you love em.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Art is stupid




The other day I was at an event at Citizen's Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

I was waiting in a line which meant I had to stare at that painting for 47 minutes. Or something I wasn't counting.




Just look at this awful thing. Everyone has tiny heads and Kim Kardashian sized rumps.

BTW, that's a total shot in the dark on the spelling of her last name. If it's wrong, then imagine I have a similarly named friend who also has a huge caboose.




Just look at that rear end! Seriously! This dude enters a room in the morning and his butt gets there at lunchtime.




I like that the little smoke detector thingie looks like a parolee ankle bracelet.

By the way, the reason I was in line was to see Santa, this Santa:



Now THAT is what I call art... and he has a big butt too.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sesame Place Christmas 2011

I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying the Sesame Place Christmas event. I mean that literally. I can't tell you because I am typing this on my phone and it would take longer than I wish to type on this thing.



I've written about Sesame Place before. You can search for it, but it's probably full of broken links, missing images and gimmick commenters.

You know what? You should look for that!

In the meantime...



Sesame Place is a kiddie park and I have a kid... but I'm not fooling anyone, I enjoy it more than my son.




Normally the park shuts down at Halloween and stays shut until it's springtime.

But this year, they transformed the place into a tacky (in a good way) winter wonderland.



Characters dress in winter scarves. Stage shows about jingle bells and 2 different places to meet Santa... actually that's pretty weird. It's not that big of a place. Must be a union thing.

At night they light the place up, and it snows on Sesame Street. Every night.






The shows are all fun. Most are your standard Santa and jingle bells stuff. The Elmo's World Happy Holidays show is a bit of an exception. It's based on the home video of the same name.

The DVD covers the birth of Jesus, Kwanza and Chanukah.


This version is abridged but gives a nice overview of the three holidays.




To me few things say "merry Christmas" like fake facades and costumed characters. I know that's weird... but I am glad there's a place to find that just outside Central Jersey.