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Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Observations

Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love Christmas music, Christmas lights, and Christmas movies; I love thinking about how God himself literally became flesh to live among his people.

It's not a perfect season though, and I've noticed a lot of strange things lately. Some examples:

When advertising for the Rose Parade, why do TV stations have to say coverage "begins at 7:00?"  Isn't it presumed that the coverage begins at the time you mention? Is there anyone who says to themselves, "The commercials said coverage is at 7:00. That must mean it ends at 7:00; let me see, it's a 3 hour show, so I better get up at 4:00 so I don't miss it."

If TV stations reran tape of the 2006 Rose Parade, but included new commentary, and kept calling it the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade, only two percent of the population would know the difference.

I'm not sure I want to go to the Christmas party featured in the song The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. The two main components of the Christmas party are "scary ghost stories" and explanations of how Christmas sucks now compared to how it was before any of us were alive ("tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago"). I think I'll stay home.

The Hallelujah Chorus is perfect. Please don't speed it up. Handel is a better composer and arranger than you.

When you rewatch Miracle on 34th Street, pay attention to the line, "Get me the Brooks Memorial Home; it's a home for old people." Cracks me up every time. Also, I just realized, he's not really Santa. He really is just a nice old man that manipulated Fred Gailey into buying a house for his new girlfriend, Doris. The miracle? You don't realize he isn't Santa until you've watched it for the 34th time.

Just because a song mentions a present or a gift, it doesn't make it a Christmas Song. My Favorite Things is not, I repeat NOT, a Christmas song. Yes, it mentions brown paper packages tied up with strings, but look at the context in the movie. It's sung to calm children down during a summer thunderstorm. 

And how about that George Michael? Last Christmas he gave away his heart, to someone apparently not special, and because they weren't special they regifted his heart to someone else. I wonder how that exchange went. I don't think George Michael is even remotely familiar with the way romance or gift giving works. I'm happy to see he has a plan, though. THIS YEAR he will simply give his heart away to someone special. George, I think you're missing something. Maybe what matters isn't the specialness of the gift recipient so much as the embarrassment of knowing such a terrible singer/songwriter (the gift giver) is in love with you.

I'm going to put it out there. A Christmas Story is the most overrated Christmas movie of all time. A lamp in the shape of a woman's leg, a mother telling her son that a weapon is dangerous and will forever harm his visual acuity, and a little boy with too large a jacket: if these bits of movie magic sound hilarious, then this is the movie for you. I think when you watch it for the first time as an adult, without the emotional connection of having seen it as a child, it adds almost nothing of value to your Christmas season.

For having written some of the greatest lyrics in the 20th Century, Paul McCartney really took a nose dive with his Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time. Really, Paul? The choir of children practiced "all year long" to sing "Ding Dong Ding Dong Ding Dong Ding Dong?" What kind of children are these, exactly? They had to practice an entire year to learn a song with 2 words? So when you're with family this year, and one of them plays this Paul McCartney gem on his tape player, don't be afraid to point out that maybe it wasn't The Beatle's best work.

Christmas is the greatest time of year. Not only because God came near, but also because there's a lot of fodder out there for the so-inclined to mock. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Enough Already with the Baking Shows!

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in an episode of the Twilight Zone, where everyone is crazy but me. I like to eat fudge, cake, and cupcakes as much as the next guy. But I, apparently alone, refuse to watch the incessant baking of desserts on television. I can't even get my wife to agree that the sheer number of these shows is absurd, so I don't presume any readers of this blog agree with my disdain for all things sweet on TV. 

Ace of Cakes - Food Network
Amazing Wedding Cakes - WE tv
Cake Boss - TLC
Cupcake Wars - Food Network
DC Cupcakes -TLC
Fabulous Cakes - TLC
Have Cake Will Travel - Food Network
Top Chef: Just Desserts - Bravo
Next Great Baker - TLC
Staten Island Cakes - WE tv

Sweet Genius - Food Network
The Cupcake Girls - WE tv
Ultimate Cake Off -TLC
Wedding Cake Masters - WE tv
Wedding Cake Wars - WE tv

It appears there is a shortage of humans - humans with any imagination or ideas - working at two different television networks. I want to be in on the next pitch for a baking show at TLC or WE tv. They have (or have recently aired) 10 different baking shows between the two channels.

Pitch Man: You know what this channel needs? In fact, what television in general needs, is a show about baking!
Executive: We've already got 5 of these, you know.
Pitch Man: I know. But do you have any shows that portray bakers creating large cakes that don't look like cakes at all!?
Executive: That's all we have.
Pitch Man: But, is there some sort of TIME limit that makes it really interesting. You know if they don't finish in time, then the cake is just sort of, you know, not finished?
Executive: Right. Yeah, we do.
Pitch Man: What about a BIG RED countdown clock?
Executive: All of our shows prominently feature a big red countdown clock.
Pitch Man: But do any of your shows make them put weird ingredients in the baked goods?
Executive: Yes.
Pitch Man: Well, my idea is about a baking show, where bakers make cakes or cupcakes, and they look like art, man, they're amazing, plus there's a countdown clock, and if the baker doesn't finish, it's like, "Dude they didn't finish the cake!"
Executive: Didn't we just go over this?
Pitch Man: But the bakers get really nervous and don't know if they're going to finish in time, or if their cakes will totally be the BEST!
Executive: (Yawns)
Pitch Man: And they do all of the baking with gluten free ingredients!
Executive: That's the greatest idea I've ever heard. And it's so different from everything else we do. We look forward to making a show together.

I'm going to be really ticked off next year when Sugar Free Treats becomes a huge hit on TLC. Oh well, maybe I'll tune in to old episodes of the Twilight Zone instead. At least I can relate to that show.