Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas Fantasy

Began the day with breakfast and Arthur's Perfect Christmas. It's the holidays in Elwood City. Arthur Read is looking forward to the most perfect Christmas ever, with tons of snow, a glittering tree, and a big traditional meal. Nothing goes as Arthur or his friends planned at first. Francine can't go to her best friend Muffy's party because it's at the same time as her family's Hanukkah celebration. Buster's mom is worried that he won't have a nice Christmas because of his parents' divorce and keeps waking him up early for presents and pancakes. D.W wants that one popular toy no one can find. It's Arthur's clumsy Uncle Fred who finally teaches him the true meaning of the season...and reminds him that while holidays can't be perfect, they can be a lot of fun, no matter what you celebrate.

Moved onto It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown while making Banana Muffins. The second Peanuts holiday special is a series of skits involving the kids and their preparations for the big day. My personal favorite gags involve Peppermint Patty's avoidance of homework and her and Marcie at the Hallelujah Chorus and Sally learning her one line for the Christmas play.

Worked on Luke and the Beanstalk for the rest of the morning. Luke, Leia, and Ben are sneaked into Darth Vader's castle by his housekeeper, a sympathetic woman named Ashoka Tano who was once his ward. She gives the hungry twins things to eat, even as she admits that she's not certain their father can be restored to his human form.

When Vader arrives, she hides them in the stove. Leia doesn't like seeing him abuse Ashoka and runs out and insults and hits him! Vader orders Ashoka to lock her in a bird cage to be eaten later. A handsome, rather smartalec-y man is in the cage with her. He turns out to be Han Solo, a thief who, along with his partner Chewbacca, saw the beanstalk growing overnight and decided to investigate. Vader caught him trying to steal his golden egg-laying hen and tossed him in the cage, but Chewie escaped.

Did Mickey and the Beanstalk while eating a quick Banana Muffin lunch. The version I have on my Mickey Mouse In Living Color Vol 2. set is the original from Fun and Fancy Free with the Edgar Bergen and his puppets wrap-around segments. Bergen and his puppets Mortimer Snerd and Charlie McCarthy tell the story of three brave peasants (Mickey, Donald, and Goofy) who climb a beanstalk and discover that a giant (Willie) has stolen the harp that kept their valley green. Willie can change into anything imaginable, but it's not enough to distract him while the trio try to take the harp back.

Had a few things to do at and behind the Acme today, starting with dropping three bags of clothing donations at the DARE boxes on the service road between mall buildings. I've been meaning to do that forever, but either I didn't have the time before work, or I didn't have the room, or I'd forget.

The Acme was surprisingly quiet for late Friday afternoon...which is likely one of the reasons I got lousy hours again. I'm back to 12. I can't live on that. We also have a new manager who isn't familiar with the store or its workers. A lot of older employees have been complaining they've been working later in the day when, based on their seniority, they should be working in the morning. I'd just like to work at all. He probably thinks I'm some newcomer because I'm a bagger and not the head bagger. I left him a note reminding him that I've worked for some Acme or another for over 15 years and deserve more than 12 hours.

I did have some grocery shopping I couldn't put off. Needed to restock butter, cooking spray, soup (Campbell's Hearty Soup was on sale and I had a coupon), cereal (Quaker's was on a good sale - got Oatmeal Squares), cranberries, bananas, cocoa, and corn starch. Bought holiday-colored chocolate chips for cookies next week.

When I got home, I put everything away, then started wrapping presents. Ran the 1986 TV version of Babes In Toyland while I worked. Lisa Piper (Drew Barrymore) is an 11-year-old resident of Cincinatti who is super-mature and responsible for her age, thanks to her mother relying heavily on her to take care of household chores. She gets into an accident on a sled and finds herself in Toyland, a magical world where teddy bears are cops and nasty old men live in bowling balls. Lisa helps Jack Be Nimble (Keanu Reeves) court his sweetheart Mary and tries to play matchmaker with Mother Hubbard (Eileen Brennan) and Barnaby. When Barnaby steals a Jar of Evil from the Toymaker (Pat Morita), it's up to Lisa to save Toyland...and realize that she really is just a kid after all.

I have a soft spot for this one from its occasional showings on what was then the Fox Family Channel when I was in college. Honestly, it's terrible. The music is awful, Keanu Reeves doesn't belong here, it looks cheap, and the one person who can sing (Brennan) doesn't. It does have some nice touches, like Mother Hubbard carrying a list to remember everything she says and does and Barnaby's bowling ball home, and Barrymore's pretty good as the child who refuses to believe in fantasy.

Both the short video and original two-part versions are currently available on YouTube...but I only recommend it if you really love the cast or enjoy campy musicals the way I do.

Did the Fairie Tale Theatre version of "Jack and the Beanstalk" while eating cornmeal-crusted blue fish, green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes for dinner. Here, Jack is a dreamer who is always coming up with impractical ideas, much to the chagrin of his mother (Kathrine Helmond). She's in despair when he trades their cow for magic beans. When the magic beans grow to the sky, he climbs them right into the clouds. A fairy reveals that the land of the clouds was once run by Jack's father, a kind man who was killed by a giant (Elliot Gould) who stole his treasures. Jack eventually gets it back, with a little help from the giant's wife (Maureen Stapleton).

Finished out the night with a much-needed bath. Ahh. It felt so good to just kick back and relax while reading books on Christmas! I don't do this often enough anymore.

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