Thursday, December 31, 2015

May the New Year's Be With You

I got up a bit earlier today, since I worked earlier. Started the last day of 2015 with a couple of New Year's short stories from the Christmas With Anne Lucy Maud Montgomery anthology and a couple of American Girl stories. Really Truly Ruthie takes place during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Ruthie Smithens is Kit Kittredge's girlie best friend. She loves fairy tales and happy endings. She inadvertently discovers that Kit's family may lose their home if they can't pay the mortgage fast. She decides she'll go to Kit's Aunt Millie in Ohio with the help of Kit's brother Charlie and get the money herself.

Addy's having an even more difficult holiday season in Changes for Addy. She's searching the hospitals every day for her aunt, uncle, and baby sister, who are supposed to be in Philadelphia. Her best friend announces that she's dropping out of school to help her family. Even when she's reunited with her loved ones, it's not quite the happy reunion Addy hoped for. When she's given the honor of reading the Emancipation Proclamation in front of her church on New Year's Day, she realizes that, even if some of them can only be in spirit, she and her family are still finally free.

Ran a couple of cartoons while eating breakfast and getting ready for work. "Ruby's Gingerbread House" will be beautiful, if Ruby and Louise can get it to stay together. Max just wants them to consider the merits of his gummy worms. "Max's Christmas Passed" has Ruby taking down their Christmas decorations. Max comes up with a novel way to relieve her post-holiday blues. In "Max's New Year," Grandma and Ruby are enjoying a mini party with dancing, fizzy drinks, and funny hats. Max just wants it to be midnight, so he can eat Grandma's clock-shaped cookies.

Moved into shorts as I got ready for work. Popeye says "Let's Celebrake" when he invites Olive's grandma along with him, Olive, and Bluto to a New Year's Eve party. Spinach turns Grandma into the most energetic dancer there! Bluto disrupts Olive and Popeye's act in "Morning, Noon, and Nightclub." They find a way to turn the tables. Switched to black-and-white Disney for "The Whoopee Party." Mickey Mouse's big shindig is so wild, even the furniture starts dancing!

Work wasn't too bad when I got in...but by noon, it was insane and stayed that way all day. If people weren't buying food for their parties tonight and this weekend, they were beginning-of-the-moth folks who wouldn't bag. Other than that, there were no really major problems, and my relief was right on time. I grabbed sparkling apple-cranberry juice, pie crusts, and heavy cream for tonight.

Went right into making my Ham, Spinach and Mushroom Quiche for dinner when I got home. Since most quiches only require one crust, I used the second to make an apple turnover. Neither came out as well as I would have liked. The apples were too bunched up in the turnover, and it split. The quiche was much too watery. They tasted pretty good, though.

Watched Holiday Inn while I ate. Bing Crosby plays an entertainer who wants to give up the grind of show business for the simple life on a New England farm. When the simple life turns out to be more difficult than he thought, he turns the farm into an inn that's only open on holidays. He falls for the pretty girl he auditioned on Christmas Eve (Marjorie Reynolds), but when his old partner (Fred Astaire) comes to the Inn after his girl (Virginia Dale) left him, he finds himself competing for her affections.

I have to admit, I like this one more than White Christmas. Maybe because it's smaller and a little quieter, or the romantic complications ring a little bit truer. The blackface Lincoln's Birthday number "Abraham" may be a little offensive to some people today. Otherwise, this is a charming tale with some nice numbers and two leading men at the top of their game.

Did a few more specials and TV shows after Holiday Inn. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! has poor Chuck stuck doing a book report on War & Peace for holiday break. What he really wants to do is ask the Little Red Haired Girl to Peppermint Patty's party. Rudolph's Shiny New Year goes far better. Rudolph has to go after the runaway Baby New Year in the Archipelago of Last Years. If he can't find him by midnight on New Year's Eve, the old year will continue forever!

Laverne and Shirley are having another kind of interesting New Year's Eve in "New Year's Eve - 1960" from the third season. Laverne is excited when an old boyfriend asks her out to Shirley's big New Year's party. Shirley's just happy to go with Carmine. Their excitement dims when the guy ditches Laverne, and Shirley gets a cold. Meanwhile, Lenny and Squiggy are planning on dropping Squiggy in place of a ball at midnight.

Given all the Star Wars talk out there right now, I couldn't resist running the first two movies in the original trilogy to finish out 2015. Started the way any good Star Wars marathon should, with A New Hope. Desert farmer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) dreams of adventure in other worlds. He gets a lot more than he bargained for when he intercepts a message from smart and lovely Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), who has been captured by nasty Govenor Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and the frightening Darth Vader (voice of James Earl Jones). He's helped by former Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guiness) and Han Solo, a tough smuggler (Harrison Ford) who claims he's only in it for the money. Even after they rescue Leia, they still have to stop the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon, from destroying them all.

Went right into The Empire Strikes Back after New Hope. And boy, do they ever! Darth Vader is determined to find Luke, no matter what it takes. While he chases Han, Leia, Chewie, and Threepio across the galaxy, Luke and Artoo head to swampy Dagobah to learn more about Jedis and the Force from wise little Yoda. Meanwhile, Han and Leia are developing quite a romantic relationship. Luke's training and their blossoming love are threatened when Han and Leia fall into a trap set by Vader. Luke has to confront Vader while trying to rescue them, but he's not really ready for it yet...and he sure as heck isn't ready for the little tidbit of information Vader gives him during that duel...

Ok, so yeah, I love these movies. I've loved these movies since I was a little kid. Mom says the first movies she took Rose and me to see at the theater that weren't animated were Annie and Return of the Jedi. I still have not only most of our 80's action figures, but the majority of Keefe's action figure collection from when the original trilogy was revived in the late 90's and the release of the prequels in the late 90's and early 2000's as well. I saw all three "Special Edition" revivals in the theater, and one of my fonder memories of the early 2000's is taking Keefe to see Attack of the Clones at a full daytime showing with my then-boyfriend.

Empire has been one of my favorite movies since it started turning up on cable in the mid-80's. It highlights my favorite characters (Han, Leia, Chewie, and Han's pal Lando Calarissian), goes further into the Force, and turns Vader into just about the best worst boss in the history of the universe. (Considering how many officers he kills off here, I'm surprised there's anyone left in the Empire by Jedi.)

Yeah, if you love fantasy, sci-fi, or just a good fairy tale, you'll love these as much as I and many others do. George Lucas has tinkered with these so much, there's about 800 different versions out there. Pick your favorite and have fun.

And...I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's and a safe and happy 2016!

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