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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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DT

I've got a strange memory of watching a Star Wars Christmas special not long after the first movie came out. I remember it featured a performance by Jefferson Starship, weirdly enough. I wonder if it's the same one. It's saved in the same memory banks as the made-for-TV Kiss movie, "Phantom of the Park," which came out around the same time.

"Santa Claus Conquers The Martians" made for one of the funniest MST3K's ever. And this is indeed saying something.

Hard to believe the Nick and Jessica Christmas special (of which I actually saw about 6 minutes before having to turn it off - I've never seen a cockfight before but I imagine my reaction to this would have been very similar) didn't make the list.

I believe Kathie Lee Gifford's specials once led Tom Shales to quip that it would cause viewers to "hate Christmas."

Way on the other side of the spectrum was the Christmas show from the one magical season of "My So-Called Life," which featured Juliana Hatfield and has brought tears every time I've seen it. The last 15 minutes are so beautiful it feels dreamlike.

Not that you asked, of course.

Well, Kathy Lee is Kathy Lee. There's no help for that. But the deal with Jack Frost, is that the original screen play was written by a young guy who had just had a kid (who also btw wrote Grumpy Old Men at some shleppy warehouse job while in college). It was actually supposed to be a dark comedy directed by Sam Raimi. When theh studios got a hold of this kid's script, they pretty much turned it stupid.

DT

Appropo of absolutely nothing, this story is the most awesome story I've read in a long time, on so many levels. It almost makes me lightheaded; it's like wishing for a superhero and having one show up. Please read:

World's Tallest Man Saves Two Dolphins

BEIJING (Dec. 14) - The long arms of the world's tallest man reached in and saved two dolphins by pulling out plastic from their stomachs, state media and an aquarium official said Thursday.

The dolphins got sick after nibbling on plastic from the edge of their pool at an aquarium in Liaoning province. Attempts to use surgical instruments to remove the plastic failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response to the instruments, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Veterinarians then decided to ask for help from Bao Xishun, a 7-foot-9 herdsman from Inner Mongolia with 41.7-inch arms, state media said.

Bao, 54, was confirmed last year by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's tallest living man.

Chen Lujun, the manager of the Royal Jidi Ocean World aquarium, told The Associated Press that the shape of the dolphins' stomachs made it difficult to push an instrument very far in without hurting the animals. People with shorter arms could not reach the plastic, he said.

Krissy

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT WATCH THE STAR WARS XMAS SPECIAL. I have seen it, and even if you are watching it with a sense of irony it will burn your eyeballs - it is not even "so bad it's good" - no no no - it will just make you feel uncomfortable and mildly depressed. And that's BEFORE Bea Arthur sings.

agreed with that being one of the best MST3ks. I miss Joel. Mike was okay but Joel was awesome.

oh and el ohohoh el at showing your kids that alternate ending on the isle of misfit toys. (I originally typed cookies, since that's what we call the sugar cookies that break - then we ice them with red icing and screaming faces)

Steve the LLamabutcher

You forgot the Martha Stewart Christmas specials from the 90s. The one with her and Hillary from the White House was priceless simply for the not barely concealed hatejets spurting from their eyes...

Allen

S-A-N-T-A! C-L-A-U-S! Hoo-ray for Santy Clause!
You have got to be kidding me. With a song like that, redone quite brilliantly for the Punk Rock X-mas CD a few years back, that special gets extra points.

scott

Here's another outstanding editorial from the Roanoke Times.

I've decided to believe they've kicked their work up a notch since I vacated the Commonwealth. It helps me sleep at night.


Christian bullies manufactured this 'War on Christmas'
By Dan Radmacher

I remember a time when people of faith bemoaned the over-commercialization of Christmas.

Now some are shouting persecution because sales clerks at some stores are wishing customers "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" or because the tree behind the City Market building was called a holiday tree in press releases instead of a Christmas tree last year.

When it comes to persecution, Christians have come a long way from being fed to the lions, my friends.

All this "War on Christmas" nonsense was manufactured in 2004 by that sanctimonious hypocrite Bill O'Reilly to bump up ratings -- and maybe distract attention from that whole unfortunate sexual harassment/phone sex episode.

He and Sean Hannity teamed up to try to browbeat Macy's, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers into shouting, "Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!" at their customers until everyone feels the love of Jesus deep in their eardrums.

More recently, they've been singling out retailers who trumpet "Holiday sales" rather than "Christmas sales" in advertisements.

Amusingly enough, last year O'Reilly and friends got busted red-handed selling "holiday" ornaments on the Fox News Web store. The blurb for one ornament even said, "Put your holiday tree in the 'No Spin Zone' with this silver glass 'O'Reilly Factor' ornament."

Whose side are you on, Bill?

I'll admit that I find it silly to refer to "holiday trees." However, those who pride themselves on being good Christians might realize that the Christmas tree is pagan in origin, and that the Bible criticizes the practice: "For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not" -- Jeremiah 10:3-4.

But what's so wrong with "Happy Holidays" as a season greeting? The word holiday, after all, is derived from holy day.

More to the point, what is un-Christian about taking a little extra care not to make a non-Christian feel excluded this time of year? You don't love your neighbors by rubbing their faces in beliefs they do not share.

But the biggest reason many Christians like me can't get agitated about the so-called "War on Christmas" is that there is so little evidence that such a war is happening.

Christmas decorations started going up in the malls before Halloween, for heaven's sake.

Last I looked, Christmas retained its status as a federal holiday. Christmas specials still fill the airwaves

And in a nation where, as O'Reilly likes to point out, something like 90 percent of the population celebrates Christmas in one fashion or another, I don't believe a war on Christmas is even possible.

Other than a pathetic attempt to boost O'Reilly's ratings, I think the whole brouhaha is little more than an excuse for the Christian majority to excuse holiday excesses that only recently were cause for guilt.

There's an unattractive undercurrent of intimidation in all of this.

As Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus wrote last year during a similar outbreak of Yuletide battle fever, "There is an ugly, bullying aspect to this dispute, in which the pro-Christmas forces are not only asking, reasonably, that their religion be treated with equal status and respect but in which they are attacking legitimate efforts at inclusivity."

O'Reilly is not the first to allege a war on Christmas. An article last year on the anti-Fox News Web site News Hounds recalled that Henry Ford made the same allegation in his anti-Semitic tract, "The International Jew."

It was also a favorite refrain of the John Birch Society in the late 1950s.

What happened to the days when the main concern of Christians at Christmas was that the true meaning of the season would be lost amidst all the hoopla over Santa Claus, Rudolph and the unrelenting pressure to spend, spend, spend?

Here's a hint, Mr. O'Reilly: The true meaning has nothing to do with whether the Wal-Mart greeter says, "Merry Christmas" to you when you walk in the door.

If there is a war on Christmas, I think people like Bill O'Reilly are on the wrong side.

Radmacher is the editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times.

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