Monday, December 1, 2014

Random Six For Monday, December 1st, 2014

Hi there! I'm Dave-El and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that puts the holly AND the jolly in your Christmas. 

Today is another posting of something I call Random Six, which is a blog post on six things I may want to babble about that do not require a unifying theme. In other words, I'm stuck for an idea to write an entire post about.

It's also an attempt to lure traffic to this blog from people who are searching for Random Sex. If you came here looking for Random Sex, sorry, no. But stick around anyway. Something good might turn up. 



Today is the first day of December and the 127th day of the Christmas shopping season. Well, it seems like it. I would say I did absolutely NO Black Friday shopping this year at all.  OK, I did go to my local comic shop Acme Comics to catch up on some comics accumulating in my pull box. And my daughter and I had lunch at Panera Bread so yeah, some money got spent on Black Friday but not for Christmas shopping. Quite frankly it's way more hassle than its worth. 

It did seem traffic out and about wasn't quite as bad as usual for a Black Friday. This may have something to do with Black Friday actually starting on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day. I saw or heard several commercials refer to sales events as Black Friday Week. How much longer before we just give up and call it Black November? 

When I was growing up, these sales were known simply as After Thanksgiving Day Sales. But Black Friday began slipping into our lexicon instead which is an apt description of my mood during this blatant marketing push for me to buy stuff. That's the problem with Christmas: whatever magic there can be from this time of year, the hard core press to get people to buy, buy, buy gets harder every year.  

Christmas decorations got put up both inside and out over the course of Friday and Saturday. That is making it seem more like the holidays now. 



Thanksgiving itself went very well. My wife, daughter and I had Thanksgiving dinner with my mother, my step-brother and his wife. I made the turkey and damned if it didn't turn out good. Much incredulousness abounded from my step-brother and my daughter but this was not first time at the turkey cooking rodeo, despite my misgivings from last week.  The key to cooking a turkey is preparation and patience. After a couple of days of thawing in the refrigerator, that turkey was ready for basting with my patented one-two punch of olive oil and butter. Then it was into the oven and 4 hours later and well ahead of schedule for dinner, that turkey came out golden and tender.  

Kudos to my sister-in-law who put together a very tasty collection of side dishes including green bean casserole, dressing and a sweet potato dish. And my wife's cherry cream cheese pie was a hit as well. 

It's been a long while since I last had Thanksgiving dinner with my side of the family. Too long, really. But this Thanksgiving, I was back home and it felt good. 



Thanksgiving means watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which is a grand spectacle. The first hour of the NBC broadcast is a collection of production numbers from various Broadway musicals and some times, well, this part sucks. OK, to me, it sucks. There are a lot of shows that get this spotlight that don't seem to be that good. In the category of "let's take a film and make it into a musical", Honeymoon of Vegas made its appearance before the Macy's storefront and it just seemed like it was trying too hard to shoehorn its Hollywood block into a Broadway hole. A very disappointing performance was from The Last Ship which has music from Sting who is now inexplicably starring in it as well; the number seemed repetitive and sluggish. 

Of course this may not be a fair assessment. After all, each musical has a couple of minutes to get something out there to the TV viewing audience and a lot of what we're seeing is out of context. It may be the old fogey in me talking but it seems songs from classic musicals stand better on their own, even when separated from the context of the rest of the performance. The musical numbers presented at the start of the Macy's parade seem disjointed and awkward by comparison.  

It's the parade proper that begins at 10 AM that's the real show. I still get a thrill out of those balloons. Another fun thing to do is to determine who does the worst lip sync job on the floats. Also fun: playing Whack-a-Roker as Al Roker flits about the parade chatting with conveniently placed stars of NBC shows. Added bonus: how many of these shows have already been cancelled? 

Seriously, though, a nice bonus this year was the snow that swirled about the parade. Nice touch! 

Some particularly scary stuff in the sky courtesy of
Skylanders and How to Train Your Dragon



After the parade is....for the rest of America's men, football. For me, it's the dog show. What can I say: I like dogs. And here's the winner of the 2014 National Dog Show, Nathan the Bloodhound. 

Who's a good doggie, huh? 

Also, if anyone wants to put out a calender of "Women of the National Dog Show", I wouldn't complain. 

OK, that sounded a bit pervy. Let's move on.



Amid all the holiday stuff, the real world spins on. A week later and the rumblings felt in the wake of the Ferguson decision continue to be felt. As I noted here last week, my own feelings on these events continue to....evolve would be the wrong word as that would imply some forward motion of my thinking on this subject. No, the most apt word I can use is "yo-yo". Everytime I read something that suggests that the grand jury really screwed this up, there's a corresponding article that suggests the grand jury made the right call and the evidence does not support a different narrative. 

Suffice to say that the mere presence of this internal confusion on my part certainly underscores that this whole matter has not been handled as well as it should have. Truth should not be subjective. Yet the "truth" of the grand jury's findings are still in doubt. What can be done to fix that? 

That will take a wiser mind that mine to figure that out.  



Also apparently up for debate is the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This movie is not due to be released until December 15, 2015, more than a year from now. So it would stand to reason that there would be very little information doled out by this trailer. As a trailer for a movie that will not debut for another whole freaking year, all it should give are hints and suggestions. 

But those hints and suggestion are tantalizing and it makes me more than a little anxious to see the results. Full disclosure: I'm not a big Star Wars fan. Form me, Doctor Who then Star Trek come before Star Wars. However, I enjoyed Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back and thought Return of the Jedi was...okay. The prequels? Brother, what a mess. I have no problem with taking a look back at how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader but to take three movies to get there? Three movies is a lot of time and resources expended in looking backward. The story of Darth Vader would've made one great film; instead it was turned into three mediocre ones. And I think Star Wars fans really wanted this mythology to move forward. 

I think its fascinating that the salvation of Star Wars may have come from taking it away from its creator. This is not the first time that's ever happened. The best Star Trek, for example, did not involve Gene Roddenberry. I would dare say George Lucas is more talented that Gene Roddenberry ever was but same problem can be linked to both: creators being linked too closely to their creation. In the world of Star Trek, people like Gene Coon and Rick Berman brought out the best in Star Trek. In the world of Star Wars, at least in terms of the movie series, George Lucas didn't have a similar bench of players to keep things going. Lucas owned Star Wars and was determined to stay in control of it. No doubt Lucas did a remarkable job imagining the universe of Star Wars but he didn't seem to know what to do with it. It's no coincidence that the Stars Wars film that most fans agree was the best is the one that Lucas had the least involvement, The Empire Strikes Back

Will JJ Abrams help be the one to move Star Wars forward? Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait another who freakin' year to find out!



OK, that's that for today.  

Some blog business before I go.  I will not be posting again until Friday when a new installment of Broken News will appear followed on Sunday by another installment of my Doctor Who fan fiction, The Son of the Master

In the meantime, try to hold that holiday shopping in check. 

And more importantly, be good to one another.

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