Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve On Ice

Began the last day of 2017 with my traditional Sunday breakfast. Made Mint Chocolate Chip Pancakes. They didn't come out as well as I had hoped. I burned part of one, and I made them a tad too big. I couldn't finish part of the second one.

Watched Holiday Inn as I made my meal and got ready for work. Singer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) thinks he's happily retiring to a farm after his former partner Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) and girlfriend Lilah (Virginia Dale) claim they want to continue in show business. What Jim discovers is he and his housekeeper Mamie (Louise Beavers) can't run the farm alone. Instead, he turns it into an inn and nightclub that's only open on holidays. The first performer he hires is Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds), whom he met in the city when she delivered flowers to Ted and Lilah. On New Year's Eve, Ted shows up at Holiday Inn, plastered after Lilah left him. He dances with Linda, but he was so gone, he doesn't remember her. The dancer and his slightly smarmy agent Danny (Walter Abel) spend a month looking for Linda...and when they finally find her on Valentine's Day, Jim finds himself competing with his partner for a girl all over again.

I traditionally watch this one on New Year's Eve. Since it covers most major holidays, it makes a nice summing-up of the holiday season and the year in general. I actually prefer this to the shinier White Christmas. It has the better score (it introduced "White Christmas" and "Happy Holidays") and fewer of the romantic comedy contrivances that bog down the later movie.

Put on Yogi Bear's All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper while getting cleaned up from breakfast. Actually, the title is a bit of a misnomer. The "all-star" cast of Hanna Barbara's more beloved funny animals only appear briefly in the beginning and end of this special. Yogi and Boo Boo are the real stars. They somehow end up in the city, where Yogi dresses in a Santa suit and winds up helping a little girl whose rich father is neglecting her during the holidays.

Did a couple of Popeye shorts themed around nightclubs or New Year's as I got ready for work. Bluto keeps annoying Popeye and Olive as they perform their own dance act in "Morning, Noon, and Nightclub." Popeye uses spinach to turn the tables. He's saying "Let's Celebrake" when he takes Olive's grandma out with him, Olive, and Bluto to attend a New Year's Eve dance contest. Spinach gives Grandma the vitality to keep jitterbugging.

Work was a royal pain in the rear. The manager told me to do the bathrooms right when I got in. They didn't really need to be done. All they needed was a few rolls of toilet paper. And all this while insanely long lines snaked around the front of the store.

The second time I had to go to the bathroom, I didn't realize the other bagger on duty had to go, too. We were both called outside, when we were only inside for five minutes.

The Eagles didn't do much better than I did. Their third-string couldn't get anything going against the Cowboys and ended their regular season with a 6-0 loss in a dull, frustrating game. (At least they have an extra week to rest before they start the playoffs.)

I couldn't have been happier to get out of there. I hurried home, changed into jeans (we're allowed to wear Eagles jerseys to work - Acme Markets sponsors the Eagles), grabbed my lemon cake, and rushed off to Dad and Jodie's house.

They were busy when I arrived. Rose rocked a chubby-cute Finley while chatting with Dana and one of the moms. Jodie filled three plates with food - part of an Italian hoagie, potato salad, cole slaw, baked barbecue chicken and ribs, macaroni and cheese. Along with my cake, there were Rose's delicious Cherry Cookies and leftover fudge, cheesecake, and mini-sticky buns from Christmas Day. Khai and his buddies Chloe, Bree, Mary, and Emily were in the den, playing with Barbies and the toy train and watching Ice Age: The Meltdown.

After the kids and moms left, I curled up in Jodie's big, soft chair in the living room and watched the late-day games with Dad, Jodie, Jessa, and a just-arriving Joe. The Miami Dolphins-Buffalo Bills game got very ugly, including a brawl in the fourth quarter that ended with two Dolphins getting ejected. While the Dolphins did manage to do better in the second half, the Bills still won 22-16. The Baltimore Ravens tried even harder against the Cincinatti Bengals, but the Bengals managed to get a last-minute touchdown that won them the game 31-27 and knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs. The Bills will be going to the postseason for the first time since 1999, breaking the longest postseason dry spell in any major league sport.

Jessa and Joe ended up driving me home around 8. I left the bike at Dad and Jodie's. They say they're going to drive me for a lot of the week while the temperatures are below freezing. I'll pick up the bike on Tuesday.

Ran a few cartoons as I got settled down for the night on the laptop. Max & Ruby did a sweet post-Christmas/New Year's episode. "Ruby's Gingerbread House" refuses to stand, no matter how much royal icing they apply to it. Max wants them to consider the merits of his gummy worms. Ruby is taking down the Christmas decorations in "Max's Christmas Passed," but Max finds a way to cheer his sister up and extend their holidays. Grandma and Ruby are enjoying dancing and fizzy drinks on "Max's New Year." He just wants to eat Grandma's clock-shaped cookies at midnight.

Charlie Brown's not having as pleasant of a holiday in Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! He has to somehow do a book report on War and Peace during Christmas vacation. He goes between struggling with the book and struggling with asking The Little Red-Haired Girl to Peppermint Patty's party. Meanwhile, Marcie and Peppermint Patty think Chuck's going to ask them, and Lucy's not-so-patiently waiting for Schroeder to ask her.

Rudolph's Shiny New Year has the baby reindeer with the bright-red nose searching for another famous baby. Happy, the baby New Year, has run away. He's upset that people keep laughing at his big ears. Rudolph and a motley assortment of characters go after him to show that his ears are nothing to be ashamed of.

The first fireworks could be briefly seen as I began Star Wars: A New Hope. Desert farmer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) longs for fabulous adventures beyond the dusty backwater planet where he was raised. He gets more action than he bargained for when the two droids his uncle bought turn out to have a message for former Jedi knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) from Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). She's been captured by the tyrannical Empire, ruled by intimidating Darth Vader and icy General Tarkin (Peter Cushing). Kenobi reveals that Luke's father was also a Jedi, and that he too has the power to become one. They hire cynical pirate Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his hairy buddy Chewbacca (Peter Mahew) to take them to Alderaan. It turns out that their destination is no more, destroyed by the massive weapon the Death Star, which is also where Leia's being held. The pirate and the hopeful farmer have to rescue the sassiest princess in the galaxy, then keep Vader from blowing the Rebellion to heck and gone.

The Empire Strikes Back begins three years later. The Rebels are now sequestered on Hoth, a planet of snow and ice that's almost as cold as Oaklyn right now. Though Han claims he has debts to pay, his real interest is in flirting with a seemingly disinterested Leia...until the Empire arrives. Han takes off with Leia, Chewbacca, and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), while Luke heads to swampy Dagobah with R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) to find the wise Jedi master Yoda. Far from being your typical "great warrior," Yoda is a little green guy with a goofy voice and an odd sense of humor (voice of Frank Oz). Luke does finally get a reluctant Yoda to train him, even as Han and Leia flirt and banter their way across the galaxy in the perpetually breaking-down Millennium Falcon. The duo think they'll be able to continue their romance in Cloud City, home of Han's buddy Lando Calarissian (Billy Dee Williams). Vader, determined to get his hands on Luke and his power, uses them as bait to trap the impetuous knight-in-training, setting up for an intense showdown with one hell of a final revelation...

Even with all the fussing over Last Jedi, I'm still a Star Wars fan and probably always will be. Empire is my favorite movie of all time. While I'm not nearly as fond of it, New Hope has its moments, especially during Princess Leia's rescue. If you want to see where it all began, grab your favorite version and enjoy a trip to a galaxy far, far away.

Leia was just telling Han that she'd rather kiss a Wookie than him when I heard the first noisy pops and saw the first flashes of gold across the creek. I sipped my whipped syllabub and watched the fireworks go off all around me from the safety of my front living room window.

Here's hoping that all of you have a safe and happy 2018, no matter what galaxy you're celebrating in.

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