Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Busy, Busy Fall

Began the morning with baking the Cranberry-Orange Bread after breakfast. I always bring two loaves of bread to Thanksgiving. It's a tradition that goes back to when I was in college. The only things I had the time or the room to make were the Pillsbury bread mixes. I used to make them for my roommates, and they loved them so much, I thought I'd try them on my family. Mom said they had plenty of desserts...but they were perfect for Black Friday breakfast for ten or fifteen hungry (and hungover) people after my family's late 90's-early 00's Thanksgiving get-togethers.

Ran a couple of holiday specials while I ate and baked. The Stingiest Man In Town is a Rankin-Bass adaptation of a 1950's TV musical of the same name. This is another musical Christmas Carol, this time with Walter Matthau as Scrooge, Robert Morse as the young Scrooge, Tom Bosley as the bug narrator E.A.H Humbug, and Dennis Day in one of his final TV roles as Nephew Fred. I love the music in this one, especially the opening number "An Old Fashioned Christmas" and Martha Cratchit's "Yes, There Is a Santa Claus."

Threw on a Max & Ruby episode while cleaning up the dishes. "Max's Thanksgiving" has Ruby setting the table for Grandma's big feast. Max is more interested in the nut stuffing.

Spent the next couple of hours writing while waiting for the bread to come out of the oven. Rey's glad she's traveling with her new friend the Nutcracker. She likes him a lot, but she wonders if there's a lot more to him than he claims.

Mother Maz turns out to be a very old woman in a huge dress that looks like a cake and is big enough for her gingerbread children to run in and out of! She offers the group food and shelter while they prepare to rescue Han. She knows where he is - in the Pit of Darkness, deep within Starkiller Fortress. He's alive, but weak. Fairies can't survive without light.

Did two Thanksgiving TV episodes while getting packed for tomorrow and eating lunch. Jack of All Trades had a very unique Thanksgiving episode in its second and last season, "One Two Three, Give Me Lady Liberty." Jack teaches Emilia and the citizens of the tropical island where they live about that most American of holidays as Napoleon prepares to give a very tall statue of a woman carrying a torch to the US. When the duo find out what the miniature emperor really has in mind for the statue, they distract the guards surrounding it with another Thanksgiving tradition - football!

Balki and Larry are having their own problems with "Wild Turkey" during a seventh season episode of Perfect Strangers. Larry took in a whole flock of fresh turkeys to sell. The feathers really fly when Jennifer thinks one ate her wedding ring. The boys have to try to persuade a family who bought a turkey to give it back when they suspect it's the bird with the ring.

Threw on a quick Three Stooges short while getting ready for work. The trio are "Boobs In the Woods" when they're sent by England to help defend the new colonists from Indians. They immediately fall for three pretty pilgrim lasses, but have less luck with the natives. When the Indians capture Larry, Moe and Curly dress as members of the tribe to rescue him.

Work was surprisingly quiet when I got in...but that didn't last long. By 2:30, it was starting to get busy. By the height of rush hour around 4:30-5, we had lines down the aisles and no carts. I did help bag for the first half-hour and occasionally gathered baskets, but once again, I was mostly outside. It got really crazy about an hour before I finished. The traffic was crazy, and I dodged as many cars as I could, in the parking lot and going home.

When I got in, I put on another short while eating leftovers for dinner. Molly's Pilgrim won an Oscar for best short subject in 1985. I can understand why. It's very sweet. Molly and her parents are Russian Jewish immigrants who came to America for religious freedom. Molly may appreciate her freedom, but she doesn't like how the kids at school make fun of her old-fashioned clothes, her trouble with English, and her unusual lunch. She's worried that she'll be teased even more when her mother makes her pilgrim doll for a class project look more like a Russian pilgrim than the traditional Mayflower puritan. But one of Molly's classmates is really right - it does take all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.

Took a shower, then did Planes, Tranes, and Automobiles while settling down online. All ad executive Neil Page (Steve Martin) wants is to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. A blizzard strands him in Wichita and leaves him perpetually stuck with Del Griffith (John Candy), a shower curtain salesman who is a very nice guy, but also overly chatty and a mass of bad habits. As the two make their way across the frozen Midwestern landscape, Neil realizes why Del is on the road...and learns a lesson in being thankful.

This enjoyable tale of holiday travel gone wrong is a little dated (many of Neil's problems would be solved with a cell phone call or by checking an app today) and the sentimental ending is a bit jarring. It's worth seeing if you're a fan of Candy, Martin, or director John Hughes - it's some of their best work.

Thanksgiving specials don't often turn up on DVD. Here's a couple of lesser-known specials from YouTube to whet your palate for the big dinner tomorrow.

The Bernstein Bears Meet Big Paw
The Mouse On the Mayflower (Rankin-Bass' only Thanksgiving special)
The Turkey Caper
Saturday Supercade: Q-Bert - Thanksgiving For the Memories
Care Bear Family: Grams Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise

For those of you who won't be online tomorrow, I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving! Everyone else, enjoy the last days of fall.

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