Monday, December 21, 2015

Spirit of the Season

Just a Reminder

With Christmas just a few short days away,
it is easy to forget that there are many people who do not enjoy the material comforts that we do.

In addition to making donations when you see Salvation Army bell-ringers, you can also share out of your own abundance with local food pantries, coat and blanket drives, and many other charitable efforts. If you're stumped for ideas, check your local church, newspaper, Chamber of Commerce website, or social services agency for ideas.

That we cannot do everything and help everyone is not a reason to do nothing and help no one...

Things That Make Me Happy: Streak Edition

Yesterday afternoon my beloved Kansas City Chiefs won their eighth straight game, defeating the Baltimore Ravens 34-14 at M&T Bank Stadium. In doing so, they became the first team in NFL history to win eight straight games after losing five straight games.

The Chiefs offense had a so-so day, totaling just 277 yards. WR Jeremy Maclin caught
a touchdown pass, and RB Charcandrick West had a 38-yard TD scamper, but for the most part the game was dominated by the Chiefs defense. DB Tyvon Branch picked up
a Ravens fumble and rambled 73 yards for a touchdown, while rookie DB Marcus Peters had two interceptions, one of which he returned 90 yards for a touchdown.

"Early Christmas present, Chiefs fans! Wooooooooooo!"

The victory gave the Chiefs a 5-3 record on the road this season. The team's final two regular-season games will be at Arrowhead Stadium. While the Chiefs' playoff position
is good at the moment, even at 9-5 overall they are not guaranteed a spot just yet. They need to keep winning. If they defeat the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders the next two weeks, they will set a franchise record for consecutive wins, and could conceivably win the AFC West Division title. There is a lot left to play for.

"Wow. You used the 'P' word. Risky."

I threw salt over my left shoulder, so it's okay...

Christmas Movies & TV Shows

Original 1958 "one sheet" poster

Even though it is set during the Christmas season, not many people include the charming 1958 Kim Novak - James Stewart comedy Bell, Book, and Candle on lists of Christmas movies. It's a shame that they don't.

Based on the delightful stage play by
John van Druten, the plot is a hectic farce that really doesn't make a lick of sense, but the all-star cast is having so much fun that you really don't mind.

Highly recommended!

My "Charlie Brown" Christmas Tree Project: Day Eight

No tinsel, thanks.

It took some fussing, but my "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" project looks pretty good. Of course, come Christmas morning there will be a couple of things under the tree in addition to the Nativity scene..

Until Next Time...

I'm not a big fan of most of the popular modern songs celebrating the Christmas season. Since I spend so much of the season experiencing a certain degree of melancholy, I've never been a "Jingle Bells" / "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" / "Holly Jolly Christmas" sort of guy. I prefer the religious hymns and carols that remind me of the "reason for the season." As for modern songs, I'm partial to the ones which temper the celebratory mood with a bit of wistfulness.

Original 1944 "one sheet" poster
Perhaps the best example of that sort of thing might be "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which was introduced to the world by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis.

As the story goes, Garland and the film's director Vincente Minelli felt the song's original lyrics were too depressing, and asked composer Hugh Martin to change them, which he did.

Years later, Frank Sinatra found even the revised version too downbeat, so he asked Martin to make further revisions. In the Sinatra version, the focus of the song shifts from imagining future happiness (as in the Garland version) to enjoying present happiness. It is the Sinatra version with which most people are familiar, but I much prefer the Garland rendition.

Today's send-off is Judy's poignant debut of the song in the film. Enjoy...

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