Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Windy Holidays

Began the morning as I ate breakfast and got organized with My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. All of these episodes involve shy, sweet animal-loving Pegasus Fluttershy in one way or another, starting with the first-season episode "Green Isn't Your Color." Rarity is jealous when Fluttershy gets a plum modeling job instead of her. Fluttershy, however, really isn't happy in the spotlight. They both tell Twilight Sparkle, but Pinkie Pie reminds her not to tell secrets. Twilight has to figure out how to help her friends without betraying their confidence.

We meet Zephyr, Fluttershy's "Flutter Brutter," in a season 6 episode. His last job having gone wrong, he takes over his parents' home, then Fluttershy's. His sister tries to help him find a job, but he keeps charming others into doing the work for him. Fed up, Fluttershy orders him to shape up or ship out. He tries to live in the woods, but isn't terribly good at the Boy Scout life. Fluttershy finally learns what he's really afraid of...and encourages him to give his dreams another shot, this time without leaning on others.

It's "Buckball Season" in another sixth season episode. Applejack is challenged by her cousin Braeburn to beat him in a game of "buckball," kicking a ball into a basket held by unicorn magic. She and Rainbow Dash are shocked to discover that Pinkie Pie can kick like a Rockette, and Fluttershy's defensive skills put the entire Philadelphia Eagles defensive line-up to shame. They recruit them and a unicorn who works for Applejack's family and is a whiz at catching...but when they're put under too much pressure, they start making mistakes. Applejack and Rainbow Dash finally realize that their star players do their best when they're just having fun.

It's probably just as well that I spent the entire time at my first day back at work cleaning registers and behind the customer service counter. While it was sunny outside, it was also gale-force windy and bitterly cold, barely in the 30's. I just wish the head front-end manager wasn't so darn fussy! He kept repeating orders when I knew what to do the first time, and he wanted me to clean up the bottom of several registers again, after I'd already done them. Thankfully, another manager pulled me off that and had me mop the bathrooms (which did need it, for once) instead.

I needed a few things for my remaining cookies after work. I was low on whole-wheat and unbleached white flour. I'll be using the maraschino cherries and coconut for the Cherry-Coconut Bars later in the week.

Continued the My Little Pony disc when I got home. Fluttershy and Applejack are saying "Viva Las Pegasus" when they find themselves in a resort in the Pony version of Vegas, run by the very friendly Gladmane. Everyone seems a little too friendly here, until Fluttershy discovers a quarrel between con-pony brothers Flim and Flam. Applejack has dealt with them before and refuses to do so again. Searching for other ponies to help, she learns that the performers in Gladmane's revue are also feuding with one another...and that Gladmane was the one who set them off. The duo have to bring together the brothers and recruit them to reveal what Gladmane is actually after.

Did some writing afterwards. Introduced Mother Leia Goose, who is helping Finn Be Nimble and Little Snap Horner put up Christmas decorations in the town square. She reveals that Barnaby Snoke has been pursuing her since her husband Han Shaftoe died at sea, trying to get her to marry him. She knows he doesn't love her. He's only after her part of the Toy Factory, one of the few buildings in Toyland he doesn't own.

Broke around 6:30 to make dinner. I have a recipe for "Tuna and Peas," a non-baked version of Tuna Casserole that I cut out of Prevention Magazine years ago. I replaced the sour cream (which I don't like) with cream of mushroom soup and added celery for crunch and my dollar store Old Bay for flavor. Yum. Creamy and sweet, with a definite seafood flavor.

Finished out the Pony disc first. "Fluttershy Leans In" in a seventh-season episode when she discovers that Ponyville's animal hospital is overrun with patients who need room to recover. She's determined to build a wildlife sanctuary for them. Her friends all recommend "experts" to help her with the building, but the experts ignore her ideas and create a building fit for them, not animals. Enraged for once, Fluttershy fires them, then seeks the advice of a friend who genuinely loves animals like she does.

Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey is one of my favorite Rankin-Bass specials. The title character is a sweet little donkey who is taunted because of his unusually long ears. After his mother dies protecting him, a cherub named Tilly helps him get to the desert. A certain couple needs a gentle donkey to take them all the way to Bethlehem. It'll take Nestor's sensitive ears to get them through a sandstorm and find their guiding star.

Ended the night after a shower with Here Comes Santa Claus. Babes In Toyland was not the only bizarre holiday musical to debut in 1986. This dubbed French movie tells the story of Simon, a little boy who only wants Santa to bring his parents back from North Africa for Christmas. He's so determined to have them home, he and his friend Ellody take a plane up to Lapland to see Santa himself. While the children try to escape the home of an evil ogre, Santa and his fairy friend Mary Ellen first rescue Simon's parents, then the kids when they return.

Very, very strange. Gets points for filming on location in the actual Senegal and Lapland, using real locals for background color and as actors in the former. Some of the synthesizer score is kind of catchy, too. "'I Believe In Father Christmas" always gets stuck in my head for days after this. And I've never heard of a fairy helping Santa Claus and his elves - that's a unique and creative touch.

On the other hand, most of this, including the entire sequence with the ogre and the kids' rescue and their trip to Lapland, is annoying and riddled with plot holes. (For starters, they never say if it's a dream, or if the whole thing happened, or how the kids got away with sneaking onto a plane and spending three days in Lapland.) I have no idea what Santa Claus has to do with African rebels or ogres or fairies.

To my knowledge, this is only available on this side of the Atlantic in a 1986 video (which I dubbed years ago) and in bits and pieces on YouTube. Only worth tracking down if you really love campy musicals like I do.

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