Monday, December 10, 2018

We Need a Little Christmas

Began a sunny morning with breakfast and Muppet Family Christmas. Fozzie invites the entire Muppet crew over to his mother's farm for the holidays. His mother would be happier about it if she hadn't originally planned on going away. She'd even rented the farm to Doc from Fraggle Rock and his dog Sprocket for the holidays. While Gonzo tries to stop the turkey from hitting on Camilla and the Sesame Street characters put on their Christmas pageant, Kermit awaits Miss Piggy (who is stranded in a snowstorm) and takes his nephew Robin to meet the Fraggles.

Moved on to Laverne and Shirley after the Muppets. "Oh Hear the Angel Voices" from the second season has the girls and their friends performing for the patients of a mental hospital on Christmas Eve. Shirley's scared to death. She's heard too many family stories about the people who end up in mental hospitals. Laverne's too busy flirting with the patients to care much.

Spent most of the morning working on my Christmas cards. I may not be able to afford much of anything else, but I had just enough cards left to cover my list. I sent out most of the cards that went in the mail but the ones that go in packages and my brother Keefe's. (I need to get his address in Virginia.)

Headed to work shortly after the show ended. Between the beautiful weather and most people focusing on their gift shopping right now, we were dead the entire day. While I did do the outside trash and recycling early-on and swept up the patio, I mostly alternated between rounding up carts and baskets and shelving items. The only exciting thing that happened the whole day was we were visited by three classes of kindergartners this morning. One adorable little boy with curly hair even waved to me as they walked past the carts to their bus.

Worked on writing when I got home. Scrooge is overjoyed when he discovers that he's back in his own room, and is hugging his own bed curtains. He starts dancing aroun and singing loudly. When Jyn Andor and her husband Cassian come to see what the noise is, he gives them gifts. They're so grateful, they invite him to attend church with them and meet their Chinese friends Baze and Chirruit.

Scrooge also buys the biggest turkey he can and has Ezra Bridger deliver it to Luke and Mara's home. He intends for it to be a surprise. It'll feed all of Luke's family easily. He has his own plans for his son and his family...

Broke for dinner at 6. Had leftover pizza really quick, then made Banana-Oatmeal Muffins (they were supposed to be bran, but I didn't have bran) while watching the remaining episodes on the Disney Junior Holiday set. Vampirina is the tale of a vampire girl and her family who have moved from Transylvania to Pennsylvania to start a bed and breakfast. It's a major culture shock for a kid who is used to things being a lot scarier. Her human friend Poppy helps her navigate the non-horror world.

"Nanpire and Granpop the Greats" are visiting Vampirina's family for Blood Moon, which seems to be their version of Christmas. Vampirina insists on serving all human foods, despite her grandfather's protests. While they introduce Vampirina's friend Poppy and her family to their holiday customs, their skeleton cook has to get control of the meal after he accidentally douses it with a potion of Grandpop's. Vampirina is feeling a bit homesick in "There's Snow Place Like Home." The family ghost Demi casts a snow spell to make her feel better...but it only works on their house.

Nanpire returns in "Nanpire the Great" as she offers to make Goulash Stew for Vampirina's school program. Vampira doesn't want to tell her grandmother that she no longer remembers how to make it. When she doesn't cook it enough, she accidentally freezes all the students! Good thing Nanpire can help. Vampirina thinks "Two Heads are Better Than One" when she invites her friends and a two-headed monster from Transylvania to celebrate the Friendship Festival with her. The monster's two heads are totally different and don't get along at all. Vampirina and her friends have to prove that you can be friends with very different people (and monsters).

Puppy Dog Pals is something of an imitation Paw Patrol, revolving as it does around dogs helping their neighbors with the gadgets their owner made them. Here though, there's only two super-pups, a pair of pugs named Rolly and Bingo. They're totally devoted to their human Bob, his cat Hissy, and their robot dog companion A.R.F. Whenever Bob says he'd like to do or see something, the pups will go on a "mission" to retrieve the item or try to make it so he can see what he's interested in.

It's "A Very Pug Christmas" when the pup duo have to help Santa find Bob's present, which fell out of his sleigh. "The Latke Kerfuffle" happens when A.R.F accidentally mashes the potatoes Bob was going to use to make potato pancakes for the their Jewish neighbors' Hanukkah party. The pugs and A.R.F get the eggs and potatoes from a farm, but they lose them and have to chase them.

When Bob says he wishes he could see something he made at an Italian art museum, the pups somehow think his pajama pants would make a perfect work of art in "Art for Pug's Sake." "Winter Wonderpug" has them helping various animals who weren't prepared for colder weather as they search for the first snowflake of the season for Bob.

And...yeah, these were ok. I give Puppy Dog Pals extra points for the Hanukkah show; it's rare to see a TV cartoon episode that revolves around that holiday. The "Art" episode was pretty funny, too. Otherwise, that show was rather bland. Vampirina is a little more creative, with it's riff on immigration and trying new things while retaining parts of your original home, but I feel like it's trying a little too hard with the message. Both of these shows will likely go over far more with their intended audiences than with me.

Moved on to Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol after a shower. The most famous old codger in animation headlined the very first animated TV Christmas special in 1962, playing none other than Scrooge himself. Gorgeous music by real-life Broadway tunesmiths Jules Styne and Robert Merrill is the real selling point, including the haunting "Winter Was Warm" for Scrooge's fiancee and "We'll Have the Brightest Christmas" for the Cratchit family.

Ended the night with The Nutcracker Ballet on YouTube. I'm especially fond of the San Francisco Ballet's version from 2007 that sets the story right in San Francisco around 1915. There's an opening prologue before the party starts that's wonderfully evocative of the era, with a flower seller, a nurse pushing a pram, a cop, and two boys carrying a tree.

The Nutcracker - The San Francisco Ballet

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