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Merry Christmas, HBT Nation

Dec 24, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

Wonderful Life

As soon as I hit “publish” on this post, I’m going to take the family to my folks’ house for a nice Christmas Eve dinner. Then I’m going to come back, do my very best to settle Mookie and Tyrus Raymond down and get them to bed under threat of Santa skipping our house.  Then I’m going to pour a nice brown beverage into a low glass and marvel at how Donna Reed didn’t just up and leave that moody, dissatisfied workaholic Jimmy Stewart and take the family out of Bedford Falls for good (call me Donna!).  We’re not much for traditions in the Calcaterra household, but those we do have are dear to us.

Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends.  The fact that we only interact in this virtual space doesn’t mean we’re not friends. I think of that way anyway. We talk baseball. We tell jokes. We act like we’re better than people not in our little group. If that’s not friendship I don’t know what is.  The point is, I was blogging about baseball before someone paid me to do it and — don’t tell Mr. Ebersol this — I’d still be doing it even if there wasn’t a paycheck in it.  A big reason for that is all of you people, and I thank you for coming by our little shop every day.

Merry Christmas, movie house. Merry Christmas, Emporium. Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan.


  1. Old Gator - Dec 24, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Gagg. Me and my pal the grinch here would rather cite the Stephen Jay Gould remake of Wonderful Life, preferring the genuine pathos of the star-crossed Ediacaran fauna to the sentimentalistic kibble of that Frank Capra piffle fest. Give me Bad Santa any day. James Stewart looks like he’s about to sob with joy because he’s been reunited with his sexless wife in their twin-bedded sanctuary where nothing ever happens. And they actually let this clown fly a B-47?

    Oh, yeah. And children are horrible. Now pardon me while I go feed Friendo his Christmas mouse.

    • jkcalhoun - Dec 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM

      You must be remembering the TV version of Donna Reed. This one’s not sexless, except in the alternate universe, in which she somehow spurned Sam Wainwright and his plastics even without mopey George Bailey hanging around.

      From our house: holiday cheer to all, and if your evening includes It’s A Wonderful Life and you somehow miss all the subtext just like Old Gator, at least you can ogle Violet.

      • Old Gator - Dec 24, 2010 at 7:56 PM

        Bah, humbug! There’s no subtext. In the Capraverse, women got pregnant from kissing and might as well have been parthenogenic for all that. Give me the 1951 British film version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim or the 1938 Gene Lockheart and Reginald Owen version any day, and let capitalism have it right between the eyes. Subtext? Either version’s got more of ’em than a James Joyce meganovel.

        Friendo loved his holiday mouse. And for all of you who don’t have a pet rattlesnake, well, either go get one, or construct your holiday cheer any way you can. Just try to do it without the usual cheap sentiment. Prices fall beginning on Sunday.

      • yankeesfanlen - Dec 24, 2010 at 8:07 PM

        To Gator: We’ll see what you say when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present (we have a good idea about that already), and Future rattle your chains this very night. And the Alistair Sim’s version was barely better than the MGM spectacular with Reginald Owen subbing for Lionel Barrymore.
        Don’t forget to send your e-card to Scrooge McLoria.
        Merry Christmas to all from the Borg-A-Verse.

      • PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 24, 2010 at 9:12 PM

        For Old Gator, may Santa bring the Feesh an owner that will spend a buck or two on them.

  2. Old Gator - Dec 24, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Len: third year in a row the dogs sniffed out my e-card to Scrooge McLoria. I’ll have to pack the anthrax spores with more coffee grounds next year. But you will note that I ranked the Owen version pretty much equally with the Sim version. As soon as skull jacks are readily available for my cyberspace deck, I figure there’ll be a SimStim version too. Can’t wait. And my skull is just the right thickness for the installation now.

    Incidentally, Scrooge was not Sim’s greatest role. He went out with a bang as the senile Anglican bishop in The Ruling Class. Nothing he ever did before prepares you for the wedding scene.

    WedontgotnosteenkinbedgesFanClub: Right, and a very merry thinly veiled pagan descent and resurrection myth to you, too. It is devoutly to be wished.

  3. Utley's Hair - Dec 25, 2010 at 3:51 AM

    Well, here I am fixing up some stuff Santa couldn’t take care of. Ya got to give the old boy props though, since he spends 364 days out of the year making stuff for kids all over the world. And the other day, you ask? He spends that riding in a sleigh behind a bunch of animals who should not be able to fly. It’s gotta be some funkin’ chili or something, and behind THAT has got to suck big time—and not in a good way. (The guy in red did seem to be muttering something about some damn fogey in Macondo who tried to sic a rattlesnake on him, so he would teach him and send Ozzie Guillen and Sarah Palin down there with him, but I didn’t catch a name.) BTW, I’m an Alistair Sim-biote myself.

    Merry Cliffmas, Happy Kwanzwalt, Happy Winter Colestice and Happy Halladay to all the HBT crew and dysfunctional extended family. I hope all of you have somewhere to stay warm. We may not always agree, but most of us do accept differing opinions in a somewhat civil manner. Here’s hoping you all have a good Christmas, or whatever else you celebrate (Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, etc.).

    And Craig, remember that teacher says every time a bell rings, the Phightins won.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good…morning? WTF?!?!?

    • Old Gator - Dec 25, 2010 at 11:45 AM

      I’m liberally (well, certainly not conservatively) salting and peppering the goose, inside and out, having perforated it (liberally) parallel to the skin, boiled if for a couple of minutes to break up the subcutaneous fat, and dried it uncovered in the fridge for a few days to tighten the skin and enlarge the perforations and ripen the bird a bit (and supply a handy excuse for beheading my Japanese manservant for trying to bury it because he doesn’t like the smell of high goose). Now to stuff the cavity lighly with chopped onion, celery, carrots and parsley, lightly oil the skin with EVOO, and begin the four hour slow roasting process.

      I made the unstuffing (stuffing a bird with bread based stuffing slows the cooking process and dries out the meat) of cornmeal, chestnuts, apples, onions, mushrooms and a secret blend of herbs and spices last night and baked it golden brown.

      This morning I also boiled and reconstituted a bag of morel mushrooms for the gravy (you save the juice unless you’re a complete idiot, and profligate, too).

      I also sliced up and boiled, for a minute, a pound and a half of brussels sprouts, cut them in half, slathered them in a glaze of balsamic vinegar, fresh thyme, dices shallots, pecans and olive oil and will roast them for forty minutes, alongside a try of sliced beets rolled in olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, pepper and a little bit of cider vinegar.

      I am about to begin the slow heating process of a jug of cider with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and one or two other secret ingredients (no rattlesnake venom, though – Friendo expended it on his mouse).

      Already got the banana jackfruit bread, the minted apple jelly and cranberry sauce, and some fresh acorn squash which will be roasted with butter, agave nectar and a dash of ginger and cinnamon later this afternoon.

      Some steamed sugarsnap peas for the pedestrian walk-ins. Ah well, gotta keep up my image as a hero to the working man.

      Even in retirement.

      Dessert? Egg nog custard pie, and a freshly baked pumpkin-grannyapple pie, plus fried sweet plantains with guava ice cream.

      Go ahead and dream of a frozen-ass white thinly veiled ancient pagan descent and resurrection festival if you want. I prefer to pick my jackfruit and plantains for dinner out of my back yard.

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