Thursday, November 10, 2016

Getting Down and Dirty

Began a sunny, breezy fall day with work. I did get out and do carts early on, but there wasn't really much to gather. It was quiet all morning. That's probably why I ended up in the deli today. They just got a new chicken fryer. The manager in charge of the remodeling wanted them to mop under it before they pushed it into place. That would have been a lot easier if they weren't attempting to clean 50 years' worth of collected grease and grime with a regular rag mop and a broom. I did it twice, then had to do it again because the manager said there was still too much grease. Had to wipe down a wall as well. Thankfully, the deli manager had de-greased the wall well before I started, making that a lot easier.

Since it was such a nice day, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road. It was 1 PM by then. The lunch hour had come and gone. The traffic wasn't really too bad. I had no trouble making my way down to Oaklyn. It was a gorgeous day for a ride, sunny and warm, but not outrageously so for mid-November.

When I got home, I had lunch while running a couple of wartime cartoons in honor of Veteran's Day tomorrow. Given the popularity of superheroes in the 1940's, it was probably inevitable that the Paramount animated Superman shorts would get involved in war-related matters. "The Eleventh Hour" is a surprisingly mature cartoon with some nicely done, shadowy animation (despite a few stereotypes) about Superman sabotaging the Japanese. "Jungle Drums" has him rescuing Lois from Nazis who are using superstitious natives to help them down aircraft. The "Secret Agent" is a beautiful blond with a list of the names of every member of a saboteur group. Superman does his best to keep her safe.

Spent the next few hours starting my next story, a Force Awakens version of The Nutcracker. I've never been overly fond of the original version of this story, "The Hard Nut," so I'm going to use the ballet as a starting point and create my own version. It's Christmas Eve in a German town in 1892. Clara Marie "Rey" Stahlbaum is so excited, she can't stop dancing! Her older brother Benjamin isn't as thrilled. He thinks he's too old for Christmas fun. Hans Stahlbaum, their father, comes downstairs to take them out to their annual Christmas Eve party.

While Rey admires the tree, Hans greets his wife, Mayor Leia Stahlbaum. and his burly valet Christophe. Rey goes to see her friends Jess and Poe, while Ben argues with Armitage Hux, the son of the richest man in town.

Broke to clean the bathroom and make Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip for dinner. Ran more shorts as I worked. Popeye entered the war a few months before America did, in "The Mightly Ensign." Though most of his shorts involved his love triangle with Olive and Bluto ("Olive Oyl and Water Don't Mix," "Kicking the Conga Around"), some got more creative. "Blunder Below" has Popeye assigned to coal shoveling duty after a gun mishap. He finally gets to take down a (badly stereotyped) Japanese sub when the ship is attacked. Sweet Pea makes one of his final appearances in "Baby Wants a Battleship." Sweet Pea is fascinated by the cruiser Popeye's stationed on...but it's Popeye who may not survive his visit when he gets loose and crawls all over the ship. "Many Tanks" briefly lands Popeye in the Army when Bluto switches uniforms with him to get a date with Olive. Popeye takes on a whole fleet of tanks to get to his date on time!

Despite being wildly popular during World War II, Woody Woodpecker only appeared in one war-oriented short, "Ace In the Hole." Woody wants to be a pilot, but his sergeant has him shaving horses. Woody's determined to get in the air, if only by accident.

Played some more Lego Star Wars after dinner. Finally found the last pieces I needed to complete "Chancellor In Peril," "Falcon Flight," and "Mos Eisley Spaceport." Got True Jedi on "Falcon Flight" and "Spaceport" and the red brick on "Peril." Started "Dagobah," but didn't find any more pieces.

Finished out the night with more shorts. Warner Bros Animation got even more into the war than Famous Studios did. Most of the cartoons were one-shot parodies of the Nazis ("Russian Rhapsody"), sketch comedy shorts on life in the barracks and on the home front ("The Weakly Reporter," "Meet John Doughboy," "Wacky Blackout"), or allegories on how we got into the war and how we were going to win it ("Fifth Column Mouse," "The Duckinators").

My favorites were three classics featuring Bugs and Daffy. "Super Rabbit" parodies the Golden Age superhero craze. Bugs eats a super-charged carrot that gives him incredible powers. He uses them to battle a rabbit hating cowboy, but when push comes to shove, he dons the uniform of another type of superhero - a Marines soldier. "Draftee Daffy" has Warner's looniest duck trying to avoid that pesky "Little Man From the Draft Board." For once, Bugs encounters an antagonist who gives as good as they get in "Falling Hare." He finds a gremlin sabotaging planes. This little guy is no dope and does his best to get Bugs off his back.

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