Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Monday, December 30, 2002
The Friday Five (late as usual)

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?

Finally getting the master bathroom fixed! (Thanks, Doug!) (However, the best time I had this year was going to Nyack to see Thumbs.)

2. What was your biggest disappointment?

That so many friends and relatives were sick--and one we even lost. Also that our new neighbors across the street turned out to be such creeps. (We heard Saturday that they've been evicted. Thank God.)

3. Will you be making any New Year's resolutions?

I'll just mess them up, as always...

4. Where will you be at midnight? Do you wish you could be somewhere else?

In the company of my husband and friends at a party. Would I wish to be somewhere else because I didn't like the company I was keeping?--definitely not. But if I could be in two places at once, I'd also be at First Night Providence, after spending the afternoon walking around Brenton Point in Newport...

5. Aside from (possibly) staying up late, do you have any other New Year's traditions?

The only one would have to be watching the Rose Parade. Did you know Lassie was in it this year?


» Thursday, December 26, 2002
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Merry: Merry times? Hey, did you have a Merry Christmas? How did things turn out for you and yours after all the work and time you put in preparing for the big day?

We had a very nice day (or actually it was "days"): Christmas Eve we saw The Two Towers. After supper, I couldn't wait anymore: we went upstairs and opened our gifts to ourselves, including James' surprise gift (see Dec. 24). I put some Christmas radio shows on, Willow got her new stuffed squeaky toy (we laughed ourselves silly watching her find the squeaker), and then a bit later we went off to church via a Christmas light survey. (We were disappointed this year; not a lot of creative displays and the Albrittons had already turned their big light display off by the time we got there at 10:15 p.m.) Midnight Mass was lovely, except James and I both got terribly stuffed up by the incense.

Christmas morning we slept late, opened the rest of our gifts, made some goodies for dinner, then watched a couple of Christmas TV programs before going to friends for dinner. It was a big gathering with good food but even better company.

Twosome: Christmas: Christmas presents? Did you get what you wanted from Santa? ...or are you headed back to the stores with the rejects on 'Reverse Shopping Day'?

No returns! I got the Back to the Future trilogy on DVD, an optical mouse and a mouse sander, another DVD, a pretty frame, a Christmas tree sweatshirt, and a big tub full of chocolates that should last until Valentine's Day.

Threesome: Everyone! Is everyone back to the normal routine today, like work and homemaking and such. ...or are you still entertaining? ...or maybe just taking a well deserved break from it all?

Well, I was supposed to be back to the routine...except I also seem to have caught a cold and am cold and hot by turns with a sore throat. What a way to spend "the feast of Stephen"! The holiday isn't over yet: we still have another gift exchange New Year's Eve, plus a party, and our own Twelfth Night party on January 4 (which is only eleventh night, but who cares?). Hey, I'm Italian--Christmas isn't over until January 6; don't rush it!


» Tuesday, December 24, 2002
A Christmas Story

I am a collector of good Christmas specials as well as of books about the holiday (not crafts or recipes, the holiday itself), but most of my favorites are the older things from my childhood, specials like Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, etc.

Some of my favorite tales are the Christmas stories they did on Lassie during the Timmy era, in 1958, 1960, 1961, and 1963. But I thought they were all merely heartwarming or fanciful tales until this year.

The 1963 Christmas outing for Lassie and Timmy was "Lassie's Gift of Love," a two-part story about Timmy's project to feed wild animals during the Christmas season. He's helped in this endeavor by Mr. Nicholson, an elderly man who mends toys and who volunteers to chip in to help with the Toy Roundup, which will give toys to children in the hospital on Christmas Day.

Mr. Nicholson is an odd fellow, even in the Lassie universe; even Paul Martin comments about it. He travels about in a wagon pulled by a donkey named Holly--and when he's around strange and wonderful things seem to happen. Wild animals become unafraid, and lost things are found again.

Obviously a man like that doesn't exist. I beg to differ. I met Mr. Nicholson this year, right downtown in Marietta Square. I didn't see him, but I met him.

Every year Hallmark did a Star Trek Enterprise ornament, we seemed to miss out. One year it was no money, another we waited until too late. I suppose James could have trolled about e-Bay for one, but we never could afford the horrendous prices.

This year was going to be different. The ornament, from the Enterprise series, came out the weekend of November 15. We were going to buy it. No waiting until the last minute, or until Hallmark put their ornaments 40% off.

Wouldn't you know that weekend was the definition of "busy," and then next weekend was the same?

The weekend after Thanksgiving, then, found us on a fruitless search for the Enterprise ornament. We started at a little hole-in-the-wall Hallmark store, one James figured wouldn't have been stripped. Was he wrong! Not only was Enterprise gone, but almost everything else, too, even all the American Girls ornaments and the Arthur and D.W cookie ornament I'd thought was cute.

The saleslady was wonderful. She called around to several other stores in the area. No dice. Every Enterprise had gone. She told us they had not been sent a lot in the first place, and the collectors grabbed them up the first week.

I still stopped at Cumberland Mall looking for the fool thing one day after work. No dice.

In the meantime, the season passed. On Friday December 21, I did something I'd been wanting to do for the entire seven years we've lived here in Marietta: go walk around the square. Downtown Marietta still has an old-fashioned town square, stores and government business buildings surrounding a little green park, with a fountain, sidewalks, benches. At Christmas they have a big decorated tree, a Nativity scene, and a little booth where Santa visits with children on the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Up in New England, we called these areas village "greens" or "the common"--the most famous of the latter being Boston Common.)

Back in the old days the stores surrounding the Square were probably shoe stores, dress shops, a five and dime or two, clothing stores, etc. When we moved here, the old drugstore next to Schillings (fairly noted restaurant in the area) and a dry goods store named Goldstein's were still in business; they have since folded. So what is left are a couple of costume/antique clothing shops, an a few restaurants, a children's bookstore, the Gone with the Wind museum and Marietta Museum of History, but mostly antique shops.

I have to confess, the hook was the antique stores. After wandering around Dupre's (which, from the storefront it's in, was once either a big five and ten like Woolworth's, or a small department store), I'm convinced that if we ever win the lottery, our new house will have some nice antique furnishings. Not frou-frou type, but nice sensibile sturdy cupboards, sideboards, and tables. I even found something in Dupre's I could have afforded: a beautiful red maple hutch circa 1940, well cared for and gorgeous. Only problem: there's no room in our kitchen for it. I nearly cried.

Also wandered around in another antique shop where they had many Victrolas, both cabinet models and "portables" (well, in the 1920 sense of the word, anyway), and Edison cylinder phonographs, and you are greeted at the door by a big white standard poodle named Luke.

So I strolled the perimeter and finally came upon the Square's one card shop.

In part two of "Lassie's Gift of Love," Paul takes Timmy and Mr. Nicholson into town to deliver to the Toy Roundup; Timmy wants to Christmas shop as well. He has seen his mother ooooh and aaah at a pink silk umbrella at Washburne's General Store and is determined to buy it for her. With his latest allowance, he now has enough money--but Mr. Washburne regretfully tells him the last pink silk umbrella was sold the day before.

Then Mr. Nicholson suggests, "Why not take another look in the back? At this time of year, stock can get misplaced."

Washburne says that they took a quick inventory that morning; there's no pink silk umbrella back there. But for Timmy's sake, he goes to look anyway--and returns, puzzled, to Mr. Nicholson's smile and Timmy's delight, with one last pink silk umbrella.

You've guessed this, haven't you? The card shop is a Hallmark store. I went in simply to see if they might have one Arthur and D.W. ornament left, and idly survey the other sci-fi type ornaments: the Doctor from Voyager, a couple of other spaceships, a...

My eye flicks back. Sitting there, although I didn't see it the first time, is one last Enterprise ornament. The elderly lady running the store graciously goes into the back, gets its box, and packs it up for me. In deference to what people think of my sanity, I do not emit the whoop building inside me the moment I get out of the store, or spin around like Mary Tyler Moore about to toss her cap.

But I was very certain that somewhere, out of the corner of my eye where no one could see him, Mr. Nicholson was smiling...


» Friday, December 20, 2002
Thursday Threesome (late as usual)

Onesome: Google's: Did the net help you find gifts this Christmas? ...not just buying things over the net, but actually finding gifts for people.

Not really. I usually buy gifts all year 'round. I did use my mom's nice cash gift to buy us some DVDs we've been wanting online. But no, I didn't find anything online.

Twosome: Christmas: Got your two front teeth? What is your "wish gift" this Christmas? No, not the one you're hoping to get, but the one you'd love to wish for!

No allergies. No sickness. A strong back. Oh...and a winning multi-million lottery ticket! Which would mean that nice country house in New Hampshire with some land around it, a gourmet kitchen and a Cessna Citation for James, a library with books, books, books and a plasma screen TV for me, and all the millet and fresh beef Bandit and Willow (respectively) could want.

Threesome: Cache: Hiding the gifts again? Where are your favorite spots? Shh... Don't tell us the one they haven't found yet! Maybe you'd be better off telling us of "great hiding places from the past"...

The only one who would go looking for presents is James and he doesn't. I keep all my presents in two Xerox paper boxes in the spare room closet marked "Christmas Box."


» Thursday, December 12, 2002
Thursday Threesome

Onesome- Faith: Are you faithful in keeping your New Year's Resolutions?

Sigh. When pigs fly, I believe is the proper term. I've quit making them.

Twosome- Hope: ...and what are your hopes for the New Year?

That myself, my family (including the fids) and friends will be healthy.

That said, I really would like to go see my mom (and Remember WENN: the Musical).

Threesome- and Charity: Do you support any causes or charities? Any special projects this time of year?

I haven't been as diligent in buying food for the Can Bank as I usually am. Compounding this is the fact that I loathe going in grocery stores anyway...


The DVD Wish List (probably have missed things, but this is what I could think of):


Remember WENN
All of The Good Life/Good Neighbors (only last season is on DVD)
Jonny Quest (original series)

Movies (includes TV movies)

A Christmas Story letterboxed
The Homecoming
The House Without a Christmas Tree (pair it with The Thanksgiving Treasure and that would really be a deal)
Big Jake


Collections of the shorts from The Wonderful World of Color/Wonderful World of Disney shows:
A “Dog Collection”: "Little Dog Lost," "Little Shepherd Dog of Catalina," "Three on the Run," "Greta the Misfit Greyhound," "Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua," "The Hound Who Thought He was a Raccoon"
A “Horse Collection”: "The Horse With the Flying Tail," "Stormy the Thoroughbred," "The Tattooed Police Horse," "Run Appaloosa Run," "Justin Morgan Had a Horse"
A “Wildlife Collection”: "Flash the Teenage Otter," "Charlie the Lonesome Cougar," "The Legend of the Boy and the Eagle," "The Yellowstone Cubs"
The Complete Gallegher Episodes

Christmas DVD:
The Small One/Mickey’s Christmas Carol combo (maybe with the old Disney Christmas cartoons, “The Night Before Christmas” and “Santa’s Workshop” and/or special showing of “From All of Us to All of You”)

The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (a.k.a. Dr. Syn Alias the Scarecrow)
The Three Lives of Thomasina
Escape to Witch Mountain
In Search of the Castaways (definitely with commentary!)
Follow Me, Boys!
The Horse Without a Head
High Flying Spy (now there's a nice fantasy: the Darren McGavin Disney movie collection: HFS, Boomerang: Dog of Many Talents, Donovan's Kid...)


Recent Video Searches

Yesterday, on a mission at Costco to get trash bags, I had a look at the new Disney “Treasures” offerings.

If you haven’t seen these collections, they’re in a special metal tin with embossing. Last year saw the release of all five Davy Crockett stories, the Silly Symphonies, a collection of programs about Disneyland, and the color Mickey Mouse shorts.

The new ones are “The Complete Goofy” (I can’t believe they did Goofy before Donald Duck!), “Mickey Mouse in Black and White,” and the one I want, “Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studios.”

While doing a search to see what was on the latter (it does include an uncut copy of the movie The Reluctant Dragon, featuring Robert Benchley, which was a glorified behind-the-scenes movie), I discovered there was supposed to be a fourth new “Treasure,” the one that didn’t make it out:

“Wartime Disney” (featuring the long-lost Victory Through Air Power)

Arrrgh! The one set I’d been interested in for years! I’ve always wanted to see VTAP, even though I understand it is “propagandistic” (well, duh, it was meant to be), and James feels the same way.

I was mollified to discover it probably hasn’t been cancelled; it’s just still in production. Still...couldn’t we have waited for Goofy?

In a further search of cinematic Disneyana, I found them talking about a release of The Moon Spinners on DVD, as part of the Hayley Mills collection. Seems like a few months ago I read a news item about the “next wave” of Vault Disney releases, which began with Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, Parent Trap, and Old Yeller (these are fabulous, with tons of great extra stuff), and this included The Moon Spinners, too. But no mention was made of that edition. I hope they haven’t cancelled it.

"I've got a little list" as the Gilbert and Sullivan song goes; I'm sure most DVD fans do. At least one of my wishes will be coming true in March: Fox is finally releasing Journey to the Center of the Earth, according to a friend of mine who keeps up with these things.

(Ahem. Now where's the letterboxed copy of A Christmas Story, MGM?)


» Monday, December 09, 2002
Prominently under "news" this morning on both CNN's and Fox News' websites is a big story about the season finale of The Sopranos.

Will someone please "'splain" to me this obscene fascination with anything to do with the Mafia? I'm Italian and I still don't "get it." There's been The Godfather and a host of other imitators and mob movies and now The Sopranos. I've seen one episode. Yes, the acting is fine, but why the interest in the first place? These people are criminals, for God's sake. What's the appeal of a bunch of murderers and thieves?


» Thursday, December 05, 2002
Thursday Threesome

Onesome: Free Do you watch the ads for "Buy this and get this trinket free" just so you can get that second gift? ...and then wonder what to do with the first one?

A couple of weeks ago I would have said “never,” and it will won’t become a habit. Now, I’ve bought one item that came with a freebie, but only if I wanted the original item in the first place, and could do something with the freebie. However, recently I did find a Windham Hill double CD at Costco which had a Christmas album I had just purchased along with a sampler album I did not have and which was not available in the store. Since the package was less than the cost of a single CD at any other store, I bought it for the freebie and sent the duplicate along to my mom with her Christmas gift, a CD player. She likes pretty music.

Twosome: Gift How the heck figure do you figure out how to buy gifts for family members? You know, the ones with no list who say, "Oh, whatever..."

I usually keep track of what they enjoy. For the couple of folks that I don’t know what they do want, I give them a gift card to a store I know they like.

Threesome: Wrapping Are you a wrapping maven? ..or are are you wrappingly challenged? Who does the gift wrapping around your place anyway?

I’m a good wrapper, although I’m no Martha Stewart with the furbelows. Why gussie up a package so well that it’s a shame to rip the wrapping? I end up wrapping all the gifts. “The Mister,” who can put an entire computer together and make it work, and install the tiniest plastic model airplane parts you’ve ever seen, is all thumbs when it comes to making wrapping paper corners! Gift bags were made for him. :-)

Thursday Threesome is also hosting a Santa discussion, including “when do you do your Christmas shopping?” All year round, thank you. I have bought gifts for people for the following year on Christmas Eve. I sincerely hope I know most of what my family and friends like and buy accordingly. (I’ve missed out. I’ve seen books I’ve given get traded away, things like that. It’s okay. Sometimes you just miss.) I’m always on the lookout for nice things; they go upstairs in the “Christmas box” until it’s time to come out again. Sometimes it’s just best to buy the magic gift card. Then they can buy what they like instead of what you might have guessed was correct.


» Monday, December 02, 2002
While paging through a Woman's Day today, I came upon an ad for "dried plums" from the California Dried Plum Growers. I looked at the accompanying photo and did a double take.

You know, in the old days they used to call these "prunes." :-) I guess the word has negative connotations today.

Too, I can't help remembering burly Klingon character Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation, who declared that prune juice was the drink of a warrior...

In any case, I was surprised to discover this month's Family Circle (I had coupons for both magazines) was pretty meaty; usually these checkout magazines are pretty lightweight, 2/3 ads and lots of stupid articles about how to dress and make up right. The December FC even had a piece of fiction, "Nana Antonia's Christmas," that left me misty-eyed.