Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas To All

A ridiculous thing happened to TigerBlog last Christmas.

He stopped watching Ralphie and the gang on TBS. It was sort of an anti-Christmas miracle.

Ralphie is the main character in "A Christmas Story," which begins its 24-hour run tonight at 8. Usually TigerBlog can be counted on to watch at least eight of the 24 hours, something that all changed a year ago, when TB bailed sometime during the first showing he watched.

What will happen this year? Was that just a one-year issue or is that how it's going to be from now on?

The movie "A Christmas Story" is a classic. It's ridiculously funny, with one hilarious scene after another. And the beauty of having it play back to back to back and on for 24 hours is that you can watch it in basically any order. If you turn it on at about 10 minutes to the top of an even-numbered hour, you can see the unfortunate ending for the turkey and then the duck after that.

If you come back 45 minutes later, you can see Ralphie drop the big one, the "f dash dash dash word." Maye you see the scene with the department store Santa before you see the one in the next showing when Schwartz gets Flick to stick his tongue to the pole.

It doesn't matter what order you see them in. They're all awesome.

As Christmas shows go, "A Christmas Story" is way up there for TigerBlog. It's not at the top though.

Without question, TigerBlog's favorite Christmas movie is "It's A Wonderful Life." It's not even close.

George Bailey was born in Bedford Falls, outside of Buffalo. And then, despite how hard he tried, he could never leave.

And he tried really hard. He was going to go to college ... but the his dad died. He was going to travel and see the world ... but then he got married. Something just kept coming up.

Then there's Mr. Potter, who is George's worst nightmare. At the end, Mr. Potter swipes the money from the Bailey Building and Loan, when Uncle Billy lost track of it.

But just when it looked like George was headed to jail, on Christmas no less, his guardian angel comes to show him what all of the people in Bedford Falls would have been like had George never been born. While this is going on, George's wife Mary and Uncle Billy scatter all over town gathering money from all of the townspeople, who give everything they can to keep George out of jail.

It ends when Harry Bailey, George's war hero brother whom George saved from drowning when they were kids, flies up to Bedford Falls in a blizzard. He arrives at the Bailey house and then makes one of the two greatest toasts in movie history.

The other one is from "Casablanca," when Rick says to Ilsa: "Here's looking at you kid."

This one is when Harry raises his glass, looks at everyone from Bedford Falls, and says "To my big brother George, the richest man in town." It's guaranteed to bring a tear to TigerBlog's eyes.

TigerBlog loves Christmas, even if he's Jewish. He loves the classic movies - and the cheesy ones on Lifetime or Hallmark.

He loves the Christmas songs, especially the old classics. He's spent a lot of time the last month listening to them on a bunch of different radio stations, the ones that only play Christmas music from Thanksgiving on.

He loves to see the Christmas episodes of TV shows. Or Christmas specials like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Princeton Athletics has stopped for five days, between the men's basketball game Monday night and the men's hockey game Saturday. Nothing else except for final exams does this at Princeton.

TigerBlog is pretty sure that most people have etched-in-stone routines that start on Christmas Eve and run through the end of Christmas. And this is for Christians and non-Christians.

These traditions go back years and even decades in many cases. They are the cornerstones of many family dynamics, a 36-hour or so period of time that everyone in the family thinks about with a smile all year long.

This has not been a great year in many ways in so many different places. There are headlines every day that trumpet horrible news, and of late some of those headlines have been downright horrific.

Just this past weekend, New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu lost their lives when they were shot in their patrol car in Brooklyn, for no reason at all. TigerBlog can't even begin to imagine what their families are going through now, how they can even begin to make sense of it.

Regardless of your political views, these are not easy times. The world is dealing with complex, divisive, dangerous issues, perhaps more of them than at any other time that TB can ever remember.

Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas Day.

Perhaps that fact offers some sense of hope, for peace and goodwill. Maybe it's a bit naive to think that Christmas can even begin to compete against all of the bad that exists in the world.

On the other hand, it's not all bad. There's also a lot of good.

So focus on that, and build on that.

And have a merry, merry Christmas.

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