Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Saviors of the Universe

Kicked off the morning with a quick breakfast and Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus. This 1974 special tells the real-life story of a little girl named Virginia who sent a letter to the New York Sun, asking them if Santa really existed. Francis Church, the head of the editorial department, wrote a moving reply assuring the child that yes, Santa is as real as you and me. Many of the kids in Virginia's class say that there's no Santa, and the adults won't give them a definitive answer. Mr. Church's letter proves that faith does exist, and that you don't have to see something to believe in it.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning. Luke and Temiri made Anakin a gift - a carved twin sun pendant, much like the one he'd once made Padme. Luke was hoping to give it to his father, but he's not sure he'll accept it. Mara's certain he won't accept it. She doesn't like her father-in-law at all, and refused to take her guardian Sheev Marley's blood money. The children aren't fans of their grandfather, either, especially Rey. Like his father, Temiri shows more kindness, pointing out that their grandfather might not be so bad.

Broke for lunch at noon. Finished Yes Virginia, then watched Bugs Bunny's Christmas Tales. This holiday anthology showcases three original Christmas Looney Tunes shorts. The first is a very brief retelling of A Christmas Carol, with Porky and Petunia as the Cratchits, Yosemite Sam as Scrooge, and Bugs as Nephew Fred. Wil E. Coyote and the Road Runner take their usual attics to the snow-covered mountains in the second short. The third short has Bugs and his nephew Clyde dealing with the Tazmanian Devil in a Santa Claus suit.

Work was pretty quiet the entire night. It was busy briefly once; I bagged for a manager. Otherwise, I mainly shelved candy or loose items. Even when I went outside late in the evening, I had plenty of help and not a lot to do. I helped the girl round up the few carts that were there, then did the outside trash and recycling. Grabbed an on-sale container of Baskin-Robbins Pralines and Cream ice cream on my way out.

Took out my own trash and recycling when I got home. Had leftovers for dinner, then tried something different. I had a bunch of apples, but I didn't want to make anything too heavy. Decided to test the new food processor and make applesauce. Oh, yum! Not only did it chop the apples as fine as you wish, but I tried a recipe from one of my healthy cookbooks that added honey and jam. It was delicious, so sweet and fruity!

Watched Flash Gordon while I worked. The 1980 version of the famous comic strip and serial has Earth under attack by the evil ruler of the planet Mongo, Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydrow). New York Jets quarterback Flash (Sam J. Jones) and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) end up in a rocket with discredited scientist Zarkov (Topol), whose insistence on there being aliens who want to destroy the Earth may have lead Ming to them. Ming is definitely interested in Dale and tries to have Flash killed, but his daughter Aura (Ornella Muti) has him revived and brought to the planet Arboria. The head of the planet, Prince Barin (Timothy Dalton), is her lover, and he's not happy about sharing with Flash. Ming has turned all of the planets he rules against one another, including Barin and the head of the winged Hawkmen, Prince Vultan (Brian Blessed). Flash has to figure out how to bring them all together to stop Ming and Dale's wedding and save the Earth from total annihilation.

This is one of my favorite sci-fi films. It's probably the campiest film there is, and it's an absolute hoot. Love the wild Technicolor sets and costumes and the synthesizer score by the band Queen and Howard Blake. Von Sydrow and Topol are especially good as the elegant ruler of the universe and the not-so-mad scientist who wants to stop the aliens before they so anything worse.

If you love camp or space opera that doesn't take itself seriously for a moment, you'll want to take a rocket ship to the planet Mongo and check this one out.

Ended the night with another goofy space opera, Guardians of the Galaxy. Flash isn't the only one dealing with warring planets. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is no noble Flash Gordon hero, though. He's a criminal who steals an orb with incredible powers. Yondu, the space pirate who adopted him (Michael Rooker), wants the orb back and goes after him. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), the head of a race of evil aliens, hires the assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to go after him. Gamora tries to get it from him at the Nova Empire...and then two more bounty hunters, the guns-obsessed talking raccoon Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and his big tree buddy Groot (voice of Vin Diesel), join the fray. They all end up in prison, where they're helped to escape by Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who wants revenge on Ronan for killing his family. In the end, Yondu finally joins them to stop Ronan from getting his hands on the orb...and when one of them make a sacrifice for the others, they understand just how much of a family they've become.

I think Guardians of the Galaxy is my second-favorite Marvel sub-series after Captain America. While not as flat-out campy as Flash Gordon, it's just as much fun, with a delightfully irreverent tone and some truly unique characters. I really hope Marvel can figure out their director problems and continue this series - it's a lot of fun, one of the funniest series in the entire Marvel Universe.

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