Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Secret World of Arrietty

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly evidence that I have too much time on my hands because I watch one of the many movies in my video library and blog about it.  This time out, we're chatting up the latest Sudio Ghibli release that got a major theatrical release in North America...The Secret World of Arrietty.  This entry is originally dated May 26, 2012.

Friday, December 21, 2012

News from Markworld: 2012 in Review

As I began doing last year, allow me to blog my annual Christmas card letter, in the off chance that those friends who've drifted away may wonder whatever became of me and are googling my name one night.

Good tidings, all!  Mark Cappis here, with my annual Christmas newsletter, letting you know the things that happened to me in the year that was.

I know, I try to get this out at the start of December, so I can get new snail mail addresses and update the Christmas card list, but as I’ve been trying to write this, I find myself encountering a terrible case of writer’s block.  No matter how hard I wrack my brain, I just can’t find any interesting tidbits or sparkling bits of news to pass along.

Not the most attention grabbing intro to a newsletter, I know.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that, at some point in the past, we knew each other.  And whatever our relationship was, it convinced me that you might be interested in knowing what’s happening to me.  So...here’s what’s happening.

What’s Going On In My Life
You’ll still find me up in Athabasca, Alberta...far enough north for most to be considered the remote part of the north.  I’m still working at 94.1 the River, the radio station in Athabasca, and filling the role of “wacky morning guy.”  Come springtime, I’ll have been working here for seven years.  Yup, the same length as the average Star Trek TV series.  It’s a little bit strange.  Back in the days of minimum wage crap jobs, when you’re there for six months and then move on to another one, the thought of staying in one job for seven years is somewhat alien.  But now that it’s approaching, I find it somewhat comforting.  Obviously, someone must be liking what I’m doing to keep me around for so long.  And I must be liking what I’m doing to stick around for so long. 

When we last spoke one year ago, I revealed that the low pay that comes with radio had gotten me down, so I’d gotten a second job at Buy-Low Foods.  Well, I gave that up back in May.  As much as I appreciated the additional income, I was just starting to find it too difficult to balance the two schedules.  Granted, this means that finances are incredibly tight, but I’m managing. 

And really, that’s it.  Oh, and I saw The Avengers.  That movie is so good, you guys. 

Favourite Quote of the Year
“Puny god.” – Spoken by the Hulk, after he pounds the tar out of the evil Norse god Loki, in The Avengers.  Dude, when I saw this in the theatre, the audience was laughing so hard, I actually missed it.

To Be Found, You Must Make Yourself Visible
As always, my online footprint is massive, and you can always find out what I’m up to with a click of a mouse:

Chaos in a Box.com (my website):  www.chaosinabox.com

Midnight Ramblings (my blog):  www.chaosinabox.blogspot.com

U62: The Targ (my podcast):  www.chaosinabox.com/targ

My work blog:  www.941theriver.ca

Facebook (personal page):  www.facebook.com/chaosinabox

Facebook (fan page):  www.facebook.com/officialchaosinabox

Twitter:  www.twitter.com/chaosinabox

My YouTube Channel, where I sometimes make videos:  www.youtube.com/mcappis911

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/105350704002510248210/posts

...And the Adventure Continues...
We’re reaching the end now, which is good, because I’ve struggled long enough to come up with things to say.  In the end, all I can think of is what they taught me in school.  When you don’t know what to say, just wrap it up and go to the next song.

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewin’ on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble!  Give a whistle!
And this’ll help things turn out for the best....

‘Til next year!

Mark Cappis

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - American Graffiti

We're rolling right along with Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Today, we get to one of the films that George Lucas made before he became "the Star Wars guy"...American GraffitiThis entry is originally dated May 25, 2012.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Star Trek Into Darkness Teaser

WOO!  The one big summer blockbuster of 2013 is finally giving us its first glimpse.  And that would be Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009's critically acclaimed reboot of Star Trek.

"But Mark," you're saying.  "Why are you just blogging about it now?  The trailer's been online for a few weeks."  What, you're talking about this?

That's actually the "announcement teaser." That's right, movie promotion has gotten so ridiculous these days that trailers have trailers.  Before I started typing up a blog entry, I wanted to wait for the full trailer, which went online yesterday!

I know that 2009's gritty reboot of Star Trek had its detractors.  Many die-hard Trekkies felt that the optimism and the bright future predicted by Gene Roddenberry, and the haughty sci-fi and weighty debates about the human condition were abandoned to make just another big dumb action movie.  To be fair, many made the some complaint about the Next Generation films, too.  I, though, loved 2009's Star Trek to pieces.  For the first time in a long time, it was a Star Trek movie that actually felt like a movie.  It was critically acclaimed, was a massive hit, and it looked like Star Trek was back in a big way.

The sequel was originally supposed to come out this past summer, but director J.J. Abrams got so busy making Super 8 that the film wound up getting pushed back.  Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci, the writers of the first film, are returning to scripting duties, and this time around their bringing their fellow Lost writer and guy who wrote Prometheus, Damon Lindelof.

The entire cast of the first film is back, led by Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock.  And this time around, they're doing battle with a mysterious villain played by Bennedict Cumberbatch, best known as Sherlock Holmes on Sherlock, and the current #1 pin-up boy for many a girl geek.

Speculation is still running rampant on who the villain may be.  Along with the release of this trailer, came the revelation of the character's name:  John Harrison.  Those more knowledgeable in Star Trek canon than I have identified John Harrison as a very minor background character who was in a dozen or so episodes of the original series.  Many are saying that this is just an alias, and John Harrison's true identity will be revealed in the film, much like how Marion Cotillard's character in The Dark Knight Rises was originally announced as Miranda Tate, but as the film went on, we learned she was actually a very familiar Batman character.

Ever since the end credits rolled on the first one, the #1 contender for the villain has been Khan.  During interviews for Dredd, Karl Urban, reprising his role as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, let slip that the villain is Gary Mitchell.  Mitchell was the villain on the original series' second pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before.  Mitchell was one Capt. Kirk's dearest friends who was granted God-like powers when he came into contact with a mysterious energy barrier at the edge of the galaxy.  Kirk was then forced to kill his friend before he went mad with power and re-made the universe in his image.  So who is the villain?  We'll know for certain when the movie comes out.

But, something that didn't get as much fanfare was the announcement of another returning character.  It was revealed that Alice Eve is in the cast as...Dr. Carol Marcus.  For those who've never seen Wrath of Khan, Dr. Marcus was an old flame of of Capt. Kirk's, and the mother of Kirk's son.  Might this film include the conception?  Does this connection to Wrath of Khan lend more support to the theory that Khan is the villain?

Many mysteries are surrounding this film right now.  And I like that.  That's why I'm kind of reluctant to go see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in IMAX because I don't want to see the first 9 minutes.

But enough of my rambling!  Here's the full trailer!

In the off-chance the YouTube police have it taken down by the time this goes up on Tuesday morning, here's the link to see it at the Apple Trailers website.

So what are my thoughts on this?  Very similar to my thoughts upon seeing the trailer for the first film.  I'm still getting used to seeing Star Trek on such an epic scale.  The mystery of the villain is really played up, and I'm starting to get really, really interested.  And the whole thing with doing the Vulcan salute through the glass?  Man, they're really playing up the allusions to Wrath of Khan.

Needless to say, I will be there on May 17, when it hits theatres.  

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There And Back Again ("But that's the name of the third movie." "Read the book.")

Went to the city today, and I come home with a sense of incompleteness.  As I sit here, and gaze at my collection of Star Wars action figures, I still feel incomplete.

Went to the city today.  Went browsing at some of my favourite comic book and collectable stores.  And there, on the shelves for the first time in a long time, I spied my holy grail of Star Wars action figures...the McQuarrie concept Stormtrooper.

For those who don't know, Ralph McQuarrie was the artist who did the concept art for the original Star Wars trilogy.  He very much designed what Star Wars looked like.  And, a few years back, they made a batch of Star Wars action figures that were 100% faithful to McQuarrie's original designs.  While I did snatch up most of the McQuarrie concepts that appealed to me, the one I never got was the McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper.  Compared to the Stormtrooper we know and love from Star Wars, there's a lot less black highlights in the uniform...he's almost all-white.  And he's armed with a shield and a lightsaber.

I'd love to have a McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper in my collection.  But the price tag was $25.  Despite my extensive collection, I have never bought an action figure in a comic book and collectable store.  No matter how tempting it is, I've never been able to bring myself to spend more than $20 for something I can get down the street at Toys R Us for $6.99.

So I stared at that McQuarrie Concept Stormtrooper for a good long while...and then I walked away.

And then I went over to where they have the Doctor Who toys.  And I found...the Eleventh Doctor.  The current Doctor.  Mr. "Bow ties are cool himself."  Now again, I would love to get an action figure of the Doctor.  My buddy went to England about a year ago, and brought me back a TARDIS that he bought at a London comic book store.  I would love love love to have a Doctor to display in the TARDIS.  But again, he's really hard to find.  First, you've got the import factor working against you.  And secondly, the scarcity.  You can never find him, and with good reason.  He's the hero.  Everybody wants the star of the show.

And finally, there he was.  In the shop.  But for $25.

So I stared at that Eleventh Doctor action figure for a good long while...and then I walked away.

I'm sure some of you think this is insane.  How could one purposely choose to not complete a collection like this?  I don't know.  Maybe I'm at the age where I'm finally recognizing the difference between needs and wants.  And while I want an action figure, that $25 can buy a meal I need.  Or maybe I just get off on torturing myself.

All I know is those figures won't be there next time I go to the city.  I rarely get a second chance when it comes to buying action figures.  Others snap them up so quickly.  Oh, well.  Like the guy in the movie says, may I never be complete.

Speaking of my buddy who bought me a TARDIS, I was in the city today to meet up with him.  He texted me earlier in the week and said, "Hey.  I think we should head to the city this weekend, exchange our Christmas gifts, and see The  Hobbit."  And that's what we did. 

So what are my thoughts on the first in this Hobbit trilogy, subtitled An Unexpected Journey.  Well, as I'm been blogging for years, I've never really been able to get into The Lord of the Rings, but I love love love The Hobbit.  I count it as one of my favourite books.  Whereas The Lord of the Rings is bogged down in exposition, The Hobbit is light on it and instead focuses on the adventure.

So I started having doubts about The Hobbit when I learned that they would be expanding the one book into a trilogy.  As I was reading online, not only did they leave in all the exposition, but they poured through J.R.R. Tolkein's notes and appendixes and added even more exposition.  So I walked into The Hobbit with some lowed expectations.  It sounded like they took everything I hated about The Lord of the Rings and put it into The Hobbit.

But still, I was excited for the film.  When it started, and Howard Shore's familiar themes started up, I just couldn't help but smile.  And the good thing about these films being so long is...it's all there.  Everything.  All your favourite scenes.  I really perked up when Gollum made his appearance and he and Bilbo had their famous riddle contest.  And the scene with the trolls was straight out of the books.  It's all there.

But I did have problems.  There's fat that can be trimmed...and a lot of it has to do with the new stuff that was added.  There's a subplot with a wizard named Ragdast the Brown and he brings news of a new evil known as the Necromancer.  Thorin, leader of the dwarves, gets a personal arch-enemy in the form of an orc king that me met in battle years before.  It feels so...unnecessary. 

And, being a prequel, I found it did have a few of the problems that the Star Wars prequels have.  The filmmakers seem to have an obsession with matching the story beats with its corresponding film in the original trilogy.  And they occasionally desire to recreate scenes from the original trilogy.  Sometimes it's cute...sometimes it's distracting.

But when's all said and done, I found it to be a very enjoyable film.  It's nice going back to Middle Earth.

After that, my buddy and I exchanged our gifts, and we went our separate ways.  He was off to his girlfriend's LARP group Christmas party.  He invited me along, but I declined.  I hate going to parties where I only know one guy there.  Hell, I hate going to parties in general.  Part of the reason I got into the job I did...I can only seem to talk to people if I have a microphone.

But on the drive home, I began reflecting on LARPs.  For those who don't know, LARP stands for "live action role playing."  It's a role playing game, like Dungeons and Dragons, only instead of just simply sitting around a table rolling dice, you actually dress up in costume and act it out.  I remember explaining to a friend, and he said, "So like, what, they go out into the middle of the woods and sacrifice a dead pig?"

"No," I said.  "They rent a church basement and just pretend to sacrifice dead pigs."

Role playing games is just one of those aspects of being a geek that I've never embraced.  Yeah, me and a few friends in high school played a little D&D during lunch hours.  But then I got to college, and most of my college friends looked down on D&D as being "a child's game" and played role playing games that were 10 times more complicated.  They invited me to observe their games a few times in an effort to get me hooked, but that didn't last long.  I couldn't get through a game without heckling the proceedings, so they banned me.  That's probably what killed my burgeoning interest.  Every player I knew took it so fucking seriously.

Did I ever tell you my experience my LARPs?  I've told others in conversation, but I don't think I've ever put pen-to-paper.  So back when I was going to NAIT to get my broadcasting degree, one of the assignments in writing class is to find a non-profit organization (NPO) in the city and design an ad campaign for them.  One of my dearest friends was a pretty big wheel in Edmonton's LARP community at the time, and told me that one of her LARP groups actually had NPO status.  So I was going to do a radio ad campaign for LARPs.  I presented the proposal to my writing teacher, and she was thrilled, as this was vastly different from the usual charities that most students usually do.  But then, when I mentioned that the client was a friend of mine, my teacher rolled her eyes and sarcastically said, "Oh.  So when it comes to the part where the client has to grade you, something tells me that you'll do very well."

So for those who've never written radio commercials, you have to do some product research so you know what to cram into your 30-second spots.  And for this LARP group, they didn't have any pamphelts or flyers that I could go off of.  And it was fun.  I got to hang out with my friend, meet all her friends, quiz them excessively about their group, but everyone agreed, for me to fully understand, I'd have to come down to a game.  And these guys were hardcore into LARPs.  They didn't allow an audience into their games.  If you come, you play.

A few weeks later, there I was, at a conference room at the Coast Terrace Inn in Edmonton, being handed a black robe and given a quick briefing on my character.  Apparently, I was going to be some kind of M. Night Shamylan plot twist where I was a long-lost bastard son of one of the vampire clans.  And in I went.  Now, as you'll recall, my friend took her role playing games very seriously.  And I knew all these people took the game very seriously.  I remembered one of those games in college where, one of the players did something so unexpected, that my friend, as the one in charge of the game, had to shut things down for about 20 minutes so she could figure out how this unexpected thing affected the entire game she had planned.  So I was scared out of my mind.  For all I knew, if I sneezed I probably would have altered the whole thing.  So I kept my mouth shut and stayed at the edges until I had everything I needed.  My friend told me a few days later that I really pissed off a few of the players by doing that, because "quiet guy in the corner who has no fucking clue what's going on" was not one of my character's traits.

But now, with my client research done, it was time to get to work.  I designed the ad campaign, pointed out the flaws in their previous campaigns and suggested solutions, wrote commercials that ran on NR92, NAIT's college station, and even produced them over in production class.  I sent it all off to my friend for the client's part of the grading, and then gave the whole kitinkaboodle to my writing teacher for the final grade.

A keystone in NAIT's broadcasting program is their college station NR92.  Essentially, for a good chunk of the program, they put you to work at the station, so you get a lot of hands-on experience right out of the gate.  But...you only work at the station from 9 - 5.  After hours, we students were free to do our own shows in the classic college radio tradition.

So there I was one night, chilling out in the control room of NR92, doing Chaos in a Box 2.0, when my writing teacher comes in, wanting to have a chat.  She sits down and she starts talking.  She mentions that she remembered me mentioning that the client for my NPO project was a friend of mine, and she wanted to know if I was currently on the outs with this friend, or if we'd had a fight lately.  I said no, we hadn't.  And my teacher says that she was wanted to know because, she was grading the NPO projects, had just read the client evaluation on my LARP ad campaign, and in all her years of doing this, she found it to be one of the harshest client evaluations she`d ever read.  She was wondering if my friend was mad at me and just being vindictive.  But since the answer was "no" on all counts, my teacher left and went back to grading.

A few minutes later, my writing teacher comes back in.  Her earlier tone of concern had now been replaced with one of elation.  She shared with me my friend's client evaluation, and at the end, in the "additional comments" section, my friend wrote something like, "We found Mark's analysis of our previous ad campaigns and their strengths and weaknesses to be highly effective.  We will be adopting most, if not all, of Mark's recommendations in our future ad campaigns."  Apparently, never in the history of this assignment, had a student's recommendations completely re-shaped an NPO's advertising strategy.

Needless to say, I wound up doing very well on the assignment.  And that's my only experience with LARPs. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gritty Reboots of Great American Heroes

Well, the age of the gritty reboot is upon us.  This past week, we got flooded with a bunch of new trailers for 2013's summer blockbusters, and the two that are standing out for me right now are the gritty reboots of two classic, boy-scout-ish, superheroes.

The first one that came along was for Disney's gritty reboot of The Lone Ranger, starring Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger and Johnny Depp as Tonto, from the makers of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

I'm still having the same problems with this that I had with the first trailer that came out a few months ago.  I'm just not used to seeing the Lone Ranger this dark and gritty.  I miss hearing the William Tell Overture.  And all that stuff in there about being "a spirit walker...one who has been to the other side and returned...one who cannot be killed in battle."  I said it before, that supernatural BS doesn't belong in The Lone Ranger.

But still...consider my curiosity piqued.

The other one was for Man of Steel, aka the new Superman movie.  Warner Brothers second attempt to reboot the Superman franchise after Superman Returns underwhelmed.  I've blogged it before and I'll blog it again:  I think Superman Returns was a movie that needed to be made.  With the original Superman films being such an indelible part of pop culture, I'm sure people were expecting the reboot to pay homage to it in some way.  Now that the homage is out of our systems, we can  head on to a fresh interpretation.

And a fresh interpretation we are getting.  Zack Snyder  (300, Watchmen) directs, with The Dark Knight Trilogy's director Christopher Nolan on board as a producer.  Funny thing is, Snyder was originally offered Superman Returns, but turned it down saying he couldn't get a handle on the character.  So, The Dark Knight folks must have come up with a take that made it accessible to Snyder.

Henry Cavill is Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman, Amy Adams is Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne is Perry White, Kevin Costner is Pa Kent, and Russel Crowe is Jor-El.

I'm still not sure what to make of this.  This is definitely a lot more moody than I thought I'd be.  Not so sure that the angst kind of works with Superman.  But, they get the iconography right.  Love that shot of Superman on fire, but the flames aren't burning him.  And that music...I'm missing John Williams.

This just looks so different from what we've come to know and love about Superman.  And different is good.  So I'm willing to give it a shot.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Goofin' on NetFlix

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the many movies in my home video library.  Something very different this time out.  Back during the May long weekend, I helped my parents get hooked up for NetFlix, and wound up wasting the weekend going through the NetFlix catalogue.  This is my chronicle of that weekend.  Originally dated May 21, 2012.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Review

My review for Wreck-It Ralph is now online!

Head on over to my movie review page to give it a read!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Pick Me Up I Needed

Christmas is here, and I'll admit, I'm finding it rather rough this year.  Finances are a lot tighter that I thought they'd be, and when I'm out there getting my shopping done, whenever I look at price tags, I feel like going home and crying.  Like I've told a couple of friends, you know you don't make much money when you're interviewing the folks from the food bank, you accidentally let slip how much money you make, and they suddenly switch from pressuring you to donate to pressuring you to take home a hamper.

That's just a sad truth of the radio biz, kids:  there's not much money in sitting on your butt and talking.

But still, I have responsibilities and obligations, and at this time of year, that means getting the Christmas shopping done.  This seemed like a good weekend to do it, and so I was off to the city!

High on my list was taking care of my nieces, so I was heading for Toys R Us.  I've been told that one of my nieces is reaching the pony age that all little girls go through, so I was off to the My Little Pony aisle.  I wanted to get in and get out quick, so I wouldn't be mistaken for a Brony.  Far be it from me to criticize another's fandom, but I just think that middle aged virgins should stick to the Star Wars action figure aisle.

With that done, and the final names on my list checked off, I was in the mood for a movie.  Not much out there right now that I want to see.  I saw SkyFall a few weeks ago, and The Hobbit doesn't come out until next week, so I settled on Wreck-It Ralph.  I'll admit, the trailers for Wreck-It Ralph weren't grabbing me.  I had a similar issue with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Yeah, I had an Atari when I was a kid, but I never graduated to a Nintendo or a SNES.  I've just never been much of a gamer.  So, I don't get all misty-eyed for The Legend of Zelda or Street Fighter II like some of my compatriots do.  As such, the trailers for Wreck-It Ralph were just looking like Video Game Nostalgia: The Movie.  But, I was reading lots of good reviews from the geek circles and the film websites, so I figured I'd give it a chance.

It all takes place in an arcade.  After hours, all of the video game characters come to life and hang out with each other.  Our hero is Wreck-It Ralph, the villain in a video game called Fix It Felix Jr.  And Ralph is getting tired of being the villain and being hated by everyone and the dude just wants a little appreciation for what he does.  So, these feelings make him decide to abandon his game and journey from game to game in a quest to prove himself a good guy for once.  And his quest eventually leads him to a cart racer called Sugar Rush where he becomes the only friend and ally to a little girl, Vanelope Von Schweetz, who's going through pretty much the same thing he is.

The one review I read online that finally convinced me to see it was one that read, "In 2012, it's like Disney made the Pixar movie and Pixar made the Disney movie."  And I totally understand that now.  Brave follows Disney's "princess" formula pretty closely, and Wreck-It Ralph follows Pixar's "buddy movie" formula pretty closely as well.  And since I'm programed to be a Pixar junkie, I wound up falling in love with Wreck-It Ralph.  I found this movie to be surprisingly good.  The friendships that form in this film, and the character development, it all seems genuine.  I felt for these characters, and whenever a movie can make me do that, I regard that as a good movie.

As I blogged many years ago, seeing a good movie can be a great pick-me-up.  And Wreck-It Ralph provided me with just the pick-me-up I needed to get through this holiday season.  Granted, the season isn't done yet, but it's getting better. 

One last thing I want to mention before I go.  Perhaps the most subtle joke in all of Wreck-It Ralph.  Way back in the early 1980s, when arcade games were becoming a thing, a duo called Buckner and Garcia recorded an album of novelty songs all about the video games of the era.  It scored them the one-hit wonder, Pac-Man Fever.  Well, for Wreck-It Ralph, Disney found whatever casino Buckner and Garcia are currently performing in and got them to write a song about Wreck-It Ralph.  Just might be worth picking up the soundtrack for it.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - MASH

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ode to how much time I have on my hands by watching one of the many movies in my home movie library and blogging about it.  Today, we have the source material for a very famous TV show, MASH.  This review is originally dated May 5, 2012.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Christmas IDs for the Targ

I've been waiting for the holidays to roll around so that way I can share this radio experiment on the blog!

So, a few years ago, I decided I needed to make some Christmas IDs for my podcast, U62: The Targ.  Ah, yes, I remember the genesis now.  The Shrek Christmas special, Shrek the Halls, was premiering with a lot of hype, and I thought, "Hey!  Christmas IDs!  And I'll be sure to tape the Shrek Christmas special and get in something from Shrek!"  And I thought the Shrek Christmas special was incredibly lame and didn't find any clips from it that I liked.  But I soldiered on anyway, and still grabbed clips from some of my favourite, classic Christmas specials!

Christmas IDs by Mark Cappis

So, to run down the clips I used in this IDs:

The Weird Al Show: The Obligatory Holiday Episode - As Weird Al says in the intro to this episode of his short-lived kids show, he thought it was best to celebrate every holiday and get them all out of the way.  Which is why I go with "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" in these IDs...just to tie into this joke.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Still better in 22 minutes of animation than the Jim Carrey film.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - As I blog every year, there's no better...acknowledgment of season holiday depression.  My mother really likes this one.

A Garfield Christmas - As my sister was nuts for Garfield when we were kids, this was a must to view every year.

The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special - Recently re-discovered a few years ago, and has since become a kitsch favourite with kids of the 1980s.  The one power more powerful than the power of Greyskull at defeating Skeletor:  the Christmas spirit.

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (aka the Simpsons Christmas Special) - The very first televised full half-hour of The Simpsons.  Chosen for this mainly because I had the DVD kicking around.

Some day, I will make the one I originally wanted to make alongside these ones, but I couldn't find it online.  Maybe this year.  I also wanted to do one acknowledging that favourite with college kids in the 1990s, A Pinky and the Brain Christmas.  For those who don't remember it, Brain's latest scheme for world domination is he's created a doll with mind-controlling capabilities.  And he wants to infiltrate Santa's workshop by disguising himself and Pinky as elves, trick the elves into mass-producing it and Santa into distributing it to the world.  And as t hey parachute into the North Pole, Pinky and the Brain have this exchange:

Pinky>>  I've changed my mind, Brain!  I don't want to be an elf anymore!

Brain>>  Really, Pinky?  What do you want to be?

Pinky>>  A dentist!

Brain>>  (pause)  You've watched far too many Christmas specials, Pinky. 

Some day, I will make that.