Thursday, November 22, 2007

I've (Still) Got Plenty to be Thankful For

Even more, actually.

what a difference a year makes at:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"A Dozen Orchids, Loose, Looking Like They Don't Care."

We have now reached the Holiday Inn Tipping Point, which is the release of a special edition featuring a commentary, which means I had to buy it. For those of you who think that Christmas movies featuring Bing Crosby and horrendously uncomfortable minstrel numbers begins and ends with White Christmas, meet Holiday Inn.

Holiday Inn is the film which debuted "White Christmas" (see how this works?) and is also one of only two films which stars both Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. There's a number at the top of the movie which supposedly mocks Bing's inability to dance and Fred's weak singing, but really, this scene makes me bury my head in my hands in generational humiliation, for while Bing was no Astaire (and who was?) he could certainly not-suck his way across a dance floor. As to Fred's singing, yep, the voice a little thin, especially contrasted against Bing's, but it was precisely eleventy billion times more palatable that Paula Abdul's. His phrasing was sublime. Say what you will about Fred; he never inadvertently spawned what was recently dubbed Least Essential Album of the Millennium. I would stack Bing's dancing and Fred's singing up against any half-clad, lip-synching pop blight a future episode of I Love The '00's can trot out.

Movies the likes of Holiday Inn kindle in me nostalgia for an era that ended several decades before I was even thought of, when people celebrated Presidents Lincoln and Washington separately and, apparently, by dining out. It's a Grandpa movie, which means no one is ever pregnant, and there are many gowns. I watched this one at least several times with my own grandfather, who at the time was in his thirty-fourth year of boycotting Sinatra movies ever since Frank divorced Nancy. "This is when they both make like they're big shots," he'd explain as Bing and Marjoire Reynolds sat black-and-whitely at a nightclub table. (It was also Grandpa's job to cue the fire in Going My Way, and I've been mired in many a plothole without him.)

As to the commentary itself, it doesn't touch the gold-thread-on-the-waistcoat standard that was 1776's, but is satisfying enough. We learn, for example, that "White Christmas" was originally intended for Reynolds' character, and that Fred Astaire actually was reeling drunk during the New Year's Eve dance number. The historian doling out the commentary explains all this in a highly credible small-to-medium British accent, and, just after going into great and serious social detail about the history of minstrel shows, he takes on the scene in which Reynolds sabotages Virginia Dale:

VIRGINIA DALE: (rather bitchy remark)

COMMENTATOR: That rather bitchy remark now leads us to double-cross number two.

Hey! Call the kids and heat up so cocoa for all kinds of rather bitchy remarks, not to mention sets of sets, the line "Hit your snow!", and Bing in a straw hat smacking a pig on the rear end.

I miss the '40's.

born in '77 at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Welcome (Still Other, Reality Show-Watching) Readers

You have arrived at the most dramatic website ever.

Remember this? Well, it all came down, horribly, to this.

having strong feelings for you at:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome Readers

Our princes have come.

P.S. Yes, I know that Prince Humperdink was not the character in question to have six fingers. It was actually Fred Savage.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

In the Dark With Nuxie

I heard the news while I was, ironically, driving away from the first home I ever knew: Joe Nuxhall was dead. I had to explain who he was to Josh The Pilot, who is from a different home.

He'd been broadcasting almost as long as I've been alive, which meant that for a fourth-grader who dreaded nothing more than the next morning at school, his gravelly voice was a friend in the dark hours when I was too lonely to sleep, especially after my sister moved all the way across the hall. Night games on the West Coast were most welcome; that way, he was sure to be there as I fell asleep at eleven-thirty, midnight, one AM.

When he first played the game, he was famous for being young-- he pitched for the Reds at the age of 15, and since then, every single player who takes the field in the major leagues has had at least a little more life experience. By the time he retired three years ago, he was mostly famous for being old. He'd stayed with the organization so long, through three stadiums and who knows how much bullpen trouble, that an entire generation couldn't conceive of baseball in Cincinnati without him.

Most comforting about Joe's life is that we feted him while he was alive; built him a statue, shook his hand at Bob Evan's, quoted his signoff line in great red letters on our new stadium and turned down the screaming modern klieg lights for a few nights to allow his words to quietly shadow the evening hours. He died knowing he'll live on.

"This is the Ol' Lefthander, rounding third and heading for home."

It's easy to roll our eyes at baseball these days--the overblown contracts, the marketing, the asterisks. And like the game here in the twenty-first century, Nuxhall was a stumbler. His vocabulary was limited and at the end the calls and strikes whistled through his dentures, but he was friendly and he was familiar and he was ours. And we'll miss him.

just up to bat at:

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