I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

December 26, 2014 - 1:33 p.m.

Xmas at the Movies

Wow it's 12:19 and I'm just starting to write. That isn't good. I'm not seeing Dar on Boxing day and that's throwing me off.

Yesterday Heather had friends over, me and some friends from college. I screwed up making the mashed potatoes and forgot to heat the cream before I put it in. It didn't seem to make a big difference. Should I stop bothering? I thought the reason my mashed potatoes were so much better than my mother's was heating the cream and or butter. Do I just have magic mashing abilities?

When I got home I watched Ken Burns' Jazz. I didn't think I fell asleep but I realized that I did as I had no idea who there were talking about. Do you ever have trouble figuring out if you were asleep or not? I sometimes wake up at night and it takes me a minute to realize that I was dreaming. The dream keeps going after my eyes are open. Then I have to notice the inconsistencies to realize it was a dream. The other day someone came in a door in my room that doesn't exist. It would open in mid air if it did. That was a good tipoff. How many religious revelations, UFO sightings, and ghost stories are just dreams like that where the person doesn't think it through? This does happen to other people right? It isn't just me.?

I watched A Christmas Story yesterday. It's a film made up of great moments. What it does more than anything else is show what it's like to be a kid, the real thing, not the big dramatic things so often dealt with in adult stories about children and not the adventures found in children's literatures. It's a movie that recognizes that getting an Official Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells the time IS a big dramatic thing to a kid. It recognizes that fearing what your parents will do when they find out what you did IS traumatic. It's simply beautiful.

This year my Christmas movies were that and Meet John Doe. But I love others and I'm going to make a list, and I'll check it twice. Because that's what I do. So here's my official list of Christmas movies that are special to me. Not a top ten, I don't know how many will be on this list. I just know these are the films I'll watch over and over. the top three are clearly my top three, after that It's just as I think of them.

  1. It's a Wonderful Life. Yes not at all eccentric, My favorite holiday film is the most acclaimed one. I'm in a George Bailey place now so it's particularly resonating.
  2. A Christmas Story. Well duh. I just told you how much I love it. I probably quote it most of all, a touchstone picture.
  3. Meet John Doe: I just wrote about that Yesterday. Theaters should show it as a double feature with It's a Wonderful Life or they should at least be broadcast back to back. Capra at his finest.
  4. A Christmas Carol. Three versions I watch repeatedly.
    1. 1951 with Alastair Sim
    2. 1984 with George C. Scott
    3. 1962 with Mr. Magoo. That's the one I saw first, the definitive Christmas Carol to me. I was 5.
    I love them all. I really should see the Muppet version
  5. Miracle on 34th Street: For a while it was too corny for me but it won me back. Sorry but that whole business with the post office and the mountains of letters is simply brilliant.
  6. White Christmas: Way better than the original Holiday Inn. Bing, Danny, Rosemary, and Vera-Ellen singing and dancing up a storm, a snow storm of course.

There are other great Christmas films but I don't watch them every Christmas. I haven’t seen Midnight Clear since I saw it in the theater in 1992 but it's an amazing war movie with a Christmas theme. It's a miniature version of the WWI Christmas Truce set in the Battle of the Bulge. I think of The Nightmare Before Christmas as a Halloween film and I haven't seen it enough. As a kid I watched Rudolf but now it's kitch. I don't know what to do with the Charlie Brown Christmas. It has some brilliant parts but as a kid the naked religiosity bothered me. I really should watch it again. I love peanuts and the kids dancing is right up there with A Christmas Story, pure joy. One of the Phineas & Ferb Christmas episodes duplicated it momentarily with P & F kids. A great homage.

Are there any great Christmas films that are biblical? Are all the Jesus films Easter Themed? Somebody should make one about Jesus in the manger and the three wise men and all that. I probably wouldn't like it but it's still a natural.

The most surprising one missing from my list is The Grinch that Stole Christmas it a collaboration of two of my heroes, Dr. Seuss and Chuck Jones. It has that great song. But I am not sure if I've ever even seen it. OK I have to see that and the Muppet Christmas Carol

Two bad films deserver dishonorable mention, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Santa Claus the Mexican film, not Dudley Moore. They were both given the MST3K treatment. And I saw the first in the theater!

What greats am I leaving out? Please don't say Die Hard. If you feel that way keep me in ignorance.





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Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile December 26, 2014
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