Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Movie-palooza!

My friend Carl over at I'd Laugh . . . but All Happened to Me! made his top ten list of Christmas movies, which got me to thinking about my favorite top ten movies! I hereby submit this list for your perusal and for the edification of your Christmas spirit!

10. The Santa Clause - I grew up in a household which looooved Tim Allen. We were Home Improvement junkies and I remember many evenings us hurrying to finish dinner so we didn't miss this prime-time favorite. I'm also a big fan of his memoir "Don't Stand too Close to a Naked Man!" . Naturally when this movie came out we were all excited to see Tim Allen as the Santa Clause and he did not disappoint! Favorite scene - When Calvin has to take his son to Denny's for their Christmas meal after absolutely failing at preparing one at home. The only other folks in there are other divorcee Dads that have been dealt a similar cooking fate and a huge Japanese businessman party! Good times!

9. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - Ah yes, the Griswolds! What Christmas is complete without Cousin Eddy or the famous prayer said by Aunt Bethany! I love this movie for many reasons but mostly because it just there are so many great lines: "Clark, Audrey can't feel her legs anymore!" or the popular one that Jun and I sing in the car: "Take it away Russ! . . . Fa la la la la la la la la!"

8. Scrooged - Taking the old "A Christmas Carol" tale and spinning it into a wonderful homage to the 80's and all it's money grubbing "greed is good" mentality makes this movie totally awesome! Well that and the fact that all the Christmas spirits totally rock! David Johansen's line "Niagara Falls!" said in that thick New York cabbie accent has to be one of my favorite lines in the movie. That and Carol Kane's "Sometimes you just have to bop them in the head!" Well that and when Frank tries to convince the network to staple antlers onto the mice heads. Good times!

7. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe - OK, I know this isn't a Christmas movie per se, but I always remember watching the 1979 animated version at my grandparent's house when I was over there for Christmas dinner. I know the new improved live action one is pretty awesome but I just like this version. Maybe it's the cheesy animation, maybe it's the weird 70's clothing on the kids, or maybe it's just the fact that my Uncle Scott taped it for me all those years ago and I get to watch 80's commercials along with the movie but I just love this movie for this time of year. Who doesn't love the singing Chicken McNugget Commercials?

6. Home for the Holidays - OK, so this is not exactly the most uplifting typical holiday movie BUT it totally makes you feel OK for not having the Normal Rockwell family for the holidays and it even makes you want to embrace it. Holly Hunter is awesome and Robert Downey, Jr. is the best crazy kid brother/uncle you could ever want to have. Also Anne Bancroft is a total show-stopper as the chain-smoking and wildly inappropriate mother. Best line - "Get in the house before we're all on the evening news!"

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas - You cannot, I repeat cannot have Christmas without the Grinch, roast beast, or Cindy Lou Who. One thing that always makes me smile is seeing poor Max the dog with that lone antler tied to his head hefting that big sleigh.

4. A Christmas Story - Yes, I know that this is obvious, but I love the slice of Americana that is "A Christmas Story". I love the voice over narration of the older Ralphie. I love the pink bunny suit and I love the "leg lamp". Fa ra ra ra ra ra!

3. The Nightmare before Christmas - Although some would say this is technically a Halloween tale, I still love this movie for Christmas. Jack Skellington's search for Christmas and all the mayhem that ensues as a result of this is just awesome. Plus I looove the musical score and will sometimes sing "Making Christmas" around the house or "What's This?" when baking cookies. Danny Elfman is a musical genius!

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charles Schultz understood the power of children being story-tellers and I think this movie exhibits this the most profoundly. Charlie and the gang go through the season doing all the typical Christmas stuff but Charlie is left feeling bereft and without the true meaning of Christmas. I have often felt like this when getting so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season without taking time to pause and realize why the heck I'm doing all this hoo-ha. When Linus does the simple reading from the gospel of Luke about the coming of Jesus I still get chills. Just pure awesome.

1. It's a Wonderful Life - I did not watch this movie in it's entirety until I was 25 years old. I always knew about it and had often scoffed at it for being pure holiday kitsch but now I'm a believer and it takes my number one spot. George Bailey's journey from a man who has been beaten down by the circumstances of his life to becoming a truly grateful man for that very same life is a beautiful story and always moves me to no end. It always makes me pause and count my blessings and thank the good Lord above for all that He has given me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - Issue 2

Here we are once again joining in on Jen's 7 Quick Takes Fun!

1. Yeah, so I totally wimped out and didn't go to one blessed store this early morning. Instead I fed my daughter at 5AM and then went back to bed. I looked at all the papers and websites last night and I just couldn't find anything that would justify me going out into the madness this morning. I mean if I wanted to fight over 400 thread count sheets I can stay home and do that in my own bed with Jun.

2. Every year I am increasingly annoyed in our culture's totally pushing Thanksgiving aside and muscling Christmas ever closer to the forefront. This time I was really ticked that Black Friday was being pushed into Thanksgiving. Not only were we expected to drop our turkey sandwiches and rush out to the mall at 9pm on Thanksgiving night but so were the store employees! Not cool man, not cool. Let me enjoy my tryptophan coma!

3. Yesterday's festivities were awesome! We didn't have to do anything except pick up our meal with all the trimmings at Cracker Barrel, which let me tell you was worth every penny of the $49.99 cost! The food was good, we have leftovers for today, and I didn't have to do anything! Awesome! Honorable mention goes to Publix for their pecan pie which normally I'm not a big fan of but was really good and did the trick in pushing me ever closer to a diabetic crisis!

4. Yesterday I also dusted off the old Dahon and went out on the Upper Tampa Bay trail for the first time since Josephine came onto the scene. Holy Sore Legs Batman! Am I out of shape! I did manage to do 7 miles, but just barely and I'm sure there were a few cyclists out there who were a little concerned that I was going to pass out from the looks I was getting.

5. As some of you may or may not know I am a documentary junkie. I'm the one who gets excited about instant watch docs that are on Netflix. This week was no exception as I watched Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox. Most people know about the hippy soap with the strange ranting messages on the labels but this goes into what Dr. Bronner was all about and his family the keeps the soap making, crazy label empire going. I saw the soap at Target and I'm very tempted to buy some as it's supposed to be not only good for your body but can be used as part of your housecleaning supplies. I am intrigued.

6. Right now I am compiling a playlist for Shiki's Christmas music. It's Bing, Frank, Vince Guarldi, and Johnny Mathis all the way!

7. Also I don't know why Thanksgiving weekend spells Bond-a-thon, but apparently it does. We watched Quantum of Solace last night and are now watching View to a Kill with all it's awesome 80's cheesiness! Oh Roger Moore, you had me at "floating ice berg transport vessel"!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dong what happened to our automobile?

Here in Tampa-land, every November/December they have the Motor Trends Car Show at the Convention Center. Jun and I didn't go last year but this year we decided to give it a whirl because there are a few cars we've been eye-balling for a potential second commuter car for Jun. The Maxima is fine and dandy but it's not as fuel efficient as we would like plus it requires premium fuel. No Bueno.

I like going to the Auto show because all the major car companies bring out the goods and you pay a ticket fee to come in and take a look-see without the annoying salesperson salivating like a Pavlovian Beagle hoping to score a biscuit. Yes, I will pay money to not be harassed by sales people. If only they would do this at Victoria's Secret.

I have to say we were really not impressed this year. Especially with Nissan. The two cars I wanted to look at were not there at all the Quest and the Cube; also what were they thinking with the Juke?

Honda had the new Civic to look at which was by far the best commuter car that we saw but I really wanted to compare the cargo capacity to that of the Cube since the MPG is really similar for both. I am intrigued about driving a car that vaguely resembles the spurned love child between a space ship and a refrigerator.

The Ford Focus was nice if you have passengers with no legs, as there is no leg room in the back.

Overall it was a bit disappointing and I don't know if we will be going back next year. We did however entertain ourselves in usual Jen/Jun/Ben fashion and as evidence of this I submit a video I shot. Enjoy.