Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Links to Christmas Web Sites

If you're reading the blog this week, it means two thing:  you like Christmas, and you like the Internet.  And you know what?  They're two great tastes that go great together!  Here are some awesome Web sites to get you in the Christmas spirit.

First and foremost, I must give a shout-out to Santa's Working Overtime.  It is the first place to go for all your Christmas needs.  This blog does an amazing job combing through the finest holiday items on the 'Net and putting them in one place for your amusement and edification.  Whether it's Christmas music, recipes, articles, videos, or anything else you're looking for, you're sure to find something you'll like here.  This very blog is often cited there, and I'm extremely grateful and flattered to be featured there.  It won't disappoint!

Also at the top of the list is FaLaLaLaLa.com, hosted by the King of Jingaling (a fantastic name!).  This blog deals primarily in the discussion of Xmas music, but features other sugar plums as well.  Like Santa's Working Overtime, this one is featured in my blog list to the right, and I'm linked there as well.

I'd be shocked if you're not already familiar with Ernie (Not Bert), but this blog is one of the finest and longest running sites for Christmas material.  Although not exclusively Christmas themed, the depth of Christmas stuff here is virtually unmatched anywhere else.

Another great site specifically for music is Stubby's House of Christmas, a brand new blog that covers almost every new Christmas music release out there.  You don't need to search endlessly by yourself to find the latest and obscure Christmas releases--Stubby's done the work for you.  A great site!

Speaking of new music releases, add Mistletunes to your list of must-see sites.  They specialize in what they define as "rock'n'roll Christmas music," meaning music by contemporary artists rather than the usual Bing Crosby/Johnny Mathis/Perry Como stuff.  Again, this is another great site to find Christmas music that's off the beaten path.

A time-honored holiday tradition is the tracking of Santa's Christmas Eve ride by the government organization NORAD.  Keep dibs on ol' St. Nick here.

A site that I've enjoyed for almost a decade is Xmasfun.com.  There are plenty of articles, games, and free downloads for the whole family to enjoy.  I especially like the Christmas Lights computer program that puts festive lights on your computer desktop, even in front of other programs you're using.  Try it out!

Finally, if you're a member of Generation X (like me), you have to check out X-Entertainment.com.  Operated by a hardcore Gen-Xer, you'll find plenty of post-Boomer Christmas fun there.

If you know of any other great Christmas sites, please let me know in the comment section.  Merry Clicksmas, er, Christmas!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas TV Commercials 2010 Edition

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah! Happy Kwanzaa! Yes, it is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year again, and that means wall-to-wall holiday fare here at the blog. If you love the holidays as much as I do, you're in for a treat! If the holidays aren't your thing--well, please bare with me until after the new year when I get back to non-holiday shenanigans. The blog is decorated (moreso than my house right now, unfortunately), and it's time to bring on the good stuff. First up, as is traditional here for the holidays, are fun TV commercials of the season.

Do your Christmas shopping at the Mall of America.

Enjoy some delicious Carvel ice cream cakes (you know how much I love these commercials).

Here is a classic one for the late toy store chain Lionel Kiddie City.

Here's one for a sister store to Kiddie City, Lionel Playworld, starring a young Seth Green!

The best part of waking up Christmas morning is Folger's in your cup.

These precocious youngsters try to snap a shot of Santa with a Polaroid camera.

Time to make the Christmas donuts!

Remember 976 and 1-900 numbers? Many were not as family-friendly as this one, but this seems kind of creepy in its own way.

Finally, another of the Rice Krispy Treats commercials I love so much.

And so it begins.  Stay tuned for more reindeer games now through the end of the year.  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Creative Candle Holders, "The First Thanksgiving"

And so we find ourselves at the day before the holiday season! Despite all the stress and the craziness and running around, this is still my favorite time of the year by far. I can't help it! And I dont' want to help it :) One of the many things I'm thankful for are my great readers. Thank you very much for taking the time to enjoy the blog.

For my last Thanksgiving post of the year, I present yet another retelling of the first Thanksgiving, but unlike the animated versions I've presented this year, this version is not a cartoon. It's a sober narration of the first Thanksgiving matched with fine artwork. The video was created by Creative Candle Holders as a promotion for the company, and it's a fine one (although their statement of turkey being served at the first Thanksgiving is erroneous). Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed my Thanksgiving programming, and I sincerely wish you and your family a happy, healthy, and reflective Thanksgiving.

But wait--what's this?

YES!! CHRISTMAS!! It's coming, and I'm preparing fantastic stuff for you just as I do every year. Please stay tuned--the best is yet to come!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Disney's House of Mouse: Turkey Catchers

Here is a cartoon from the 1990s ABC Saturday morning cartoon Disney's House of Mouse. Mickey and Co. employ themselves as the world's worst "Turkey Catchers." Enjoy!

I've updated a lot of dead links and missing videos in Thanksgiving posts in the archives, so if you're enjoying my Thanksgiving programming this year, please take some time to check posts from years past. Go to the "May I Help You Find Something" section at the right of the screen and click on the Thanksgiving label. Thanks!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rankin-Bass's The Mouse On The Mayflower Clips

Three days left until Turkey Day! Time to finish up at work for a smooth transition into the holiday season.

Today I feature clips from the Rankin-Bass special The Mouse On The Mayflower. This is yet another animated telling of the first Thanksgiving, this time with musical numbers. This is the only Thanksgiving special from the legendary animation studio that I'm aware of. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the entire special online, and the only copies you'll find on video are old VHS tapes and DVD transfers. I would be eternally thankful for a reissue. Enjoy!


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Friday, November 19, 2010

Please Don't Eat The Planet: An Intergalactic Thanksgiving

If you're a devoted fan of animation, you're likely familiar with Nelvana, a huge animation studio based in Canada.  Their list of animation credits is far too lengthy to mention here, but they started in the late 70s by creating some unusual TV specials, unusual both in animation design and storyline.  I've featured two of these specials before, and today's find is yet another example.

Please Don't Eat the Planet: An Intergalactic Thanksgiving involves a family of--ahem--space farmers, who find a planet on which humor is the most valued thing in life.  The locals find the farmers very funny, much to the farmers' dismay, and...my, this already sounds weird and I've just scratched the surface of what it's about.  But trust me, it's about Thanksgiving.  I'll let the special speak for itself.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On The Road with Charles Kuralt: Chandler Family Reunion, Thanksgiving 1978

Today is a special post here at the blog.  Instead of showing a cartoon or commercial, I have something much more poignant.

I've previously featured a segment of On The Road with Charles Kuralt and stated my love for his reporting there.  This is an even better example of his amazing work--and an example of an amazing family.  Please take a few moments to watch this closely and learn about the Chandler family of Prairie, Mississippi. First see their Thanksgiving reunion from 1978, followed by a recent update on the Chandlers. They're a very special family sharing a very special Thanksgiving.  I wish their blessings not only for my own family, but yours as well.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Chipmunks, "Food For Thought"

Today I offer another animated version of the first Thanksgiving, this time courtesty of the Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.  The Chipettes are also featured.  The Chipmunks have experienced a big revival the last few years thanks to the live action films, so bring the kids around the computer for this one.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving TV Commericals 2010 Edition

Moving on in our countdown to Thanksgiving, I have yet another post with TV commercials.  Everyone complains about too many commercials on TV, yet articles about commercials are some of my highest rated on the blog.

First up, another fun commercial for Carvel ice cream cakes.  This one lacks the muffled yet charming voice of the late company founder Frank Carvel, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

Next, three great ones for Jennie-O turkey products.  In this first one, it may be a turkey, but you better learn to duck!

Make sure you don't leave your wristwatch in there.

Do not, and I mean in the name of all that's holy, do NOT thaw your turkey this way!

Finally, another charming ad for Rice Krispy Treats, much like the Halloween one I love so much. Unfortunately, this one is mislabeled on YouTube as a Christmas commercial.

Thanks! And please take a minute to take my reader survey.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This is America, Charlie Brown, "The Mayflower Voyagers"

Welcome back from the weekend everyone!  Today I start my Thanksgiving programming in earnest, and I start with what I thought would be an obscure find.  I'll tell you why it isn't momentarily.

This is America, Charlie Brown was an 8-part animated miniseries that aired on CBS in 1988 demonstrating certain moments in American history through the eyes of the Peanuts gang.  The first of these episodes was "The Mayflower Voyagers," in which the gang retell the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.

I was happy to have found this on YouTube as I thought it hadn't aired on TV since 1988 and would make a nice treat for Peanuts fans who were only familiar with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  However, I discovered that since 2008, ABC has paired this episode of the series with the Thanksgiving special, and they will do the same this Thursday night from 8 to 9pm.  Good grief!

Oh well, so it's not the rarity I thought it was, but it's still highly enjoyable.  Enjoy!  Or see it this Thursday on ABC!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Planes, Trains and Automobiles Tribute

There are countless Christmas-themed movies out there, but very few related to Thanksgiving.  One notable, and very funny exception, is Planes, Trains and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and the late John Candy.  For those unfamiliar with it, Martin is a straight-laced ad exec, travelling from New York City to his home in Chicago for Thanskgiving, who gets stranded along the way with a goofy and hapless character played by Candy.  This is on my list of favorite comedies of all time, it's that damn funny!

Here is the film's trailer.

Here is a taste, or rather smell, of Candy's character.

Although Martin's character gets the brunt of the mishaps, sometimes they're both the victims of circumstance.

Finally, quite possibly the most infamous scene in the film after the "between two pillows" incident.  It's rumored that this scene alone garnered the film an "R" rating.  WARNING: LANGUAGE NSFW!

Here is a fun article about the film discussing the cool soundtrack.  How cool is it?  THIS cool!

I just checked a DVD copy of the film out from my public library and look forward to watching it this weekend.  I highly recommend you give this film a shot as well.  You'll love it.  Thanks!

Don't forget to take the reader survey!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goofy, "How to Play Football"

I hate to break it to you, but guess what?  Thanksgiving is exactly two weeks from today.  Where did the time go?  As crazy and busy a time as it is, let's admit it:  this is the best time of the year.  And this is also the best time of the year for the blog, as this is when I bring out the best holiday-related stuff I can find.  I'm starting my Thanksgiving programming officially Monday Nov. 15th.  But today and tomorrow, I have two fun precursors to that.

Football has long been a staple of Thanksgiving fun, but no one has more fun playing the game than Disney's Goofy--or better yet, an entire stadium full of Goofys!  Here he is (they are?) in the cartoon great "How to Play Football."  Enjoy!

Again, I want to stress the opinion survey that is available.  Please respond, as it only takes a minute, and I've only received a couple of responses so far.  It is along the right side of the blog under the heading "Help Make the Blog Better."  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Doonesbury Special

Today I offer yet another animated TV special based on a popular comic strip.  A Doonesbury Special first aired on NBC on November 27, 1977, and would be nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated short the next year.  It hits the major themes of the strip at the time and, like the strip itself, is quite different from other comic strip specials before or since.  Sit back, click on the link below, and enjoy the 25-minute ride.  Thanks!

A Doonesbury Special

Also, please click on the survey link at the right of the blog.  Any and all feedback is appreciated.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Blog's 3-Year Anniversary and Survey for Your Feedback

On October 30th, the blog celebrated it's 3-year anniversary!  As with every new anniversary, I go back over the year's posts and apply the label "Best of Me and You" to those articles that either were most popular or were a personal favorite of mine.  Click here and you will have access to all of those posts.  This is especially great for those who are new to the blog and wish to get a greater sense of what the blog is about.

Also, this year I'm finally implementing something I've been meaning to do for a really long time.  I now have a survey to get your feedback on the blog!  There are only a few questions.  Please answer honestly; I can't improve the blog if I don't know what you like and don't like.

I really appreciate every single reader I have.  You guys are the best!

Click here to take survey

Friday, November 5, 2010

eToys TV Commercials From the Late 1990s

As I write this, Christmas is only 49 days away.  Trust me, those days will go by fast!  Now is the time to start your holiday shopping, if you haven't started already (I haven't).  If you have children, one place you may want to check out is eToys.com.  Remember them?

They first started in the late 90s during the Internet boom at the time--only to go into bankruptcy during the Internet bust of the early 2000s.  Today they exist as an Internet subsidiary of Toys R Us.  However, when they first debuted, they had very memorable and charming TV commercials, using the version of "Over The Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by the late Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo`ole.  I love the warmth portrayed in each of these commercials.  They're moments every parent strives to create for their children.  I hope you feel the same way about these commercials whether you have children or not.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And Now, A Public Service Announcement...

...from The Society to Let Everyone Know That God Hates Mopes.

God Hates Mopes!

Don’t support the lifestyle choice that depressives and sad-sacks choose to choose for their lifestyles!

Sad people wilt our crops!

Their tears deplete our precious bodily fluids, and lead to unnecessary shortages of the sports drinks WE ALL NEED to keep those fluids topped off!

Their medicines and headshrinking deplete our pocketbooks and wallets, if we’re men who don’t carry purses…the way mopey men sometimes do!

Look at them just moping over there! God Hates Mopes!

Don’t Mope!

The Society to Let Everyone Know That God Hates Mopes Approves of This Message.

Courtesy of Todd Mason and the Sweet Freedom blog.  Read about this PSA there.
The public service announcement you just read is an act of satire.  In the event of an actual PSA, stay tuned to this frequency for official information, news, or instructions.  This was only a test.  God really does hate mopes, though.  So don't be one.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Further Adventures of La Linea

Today I have a few of the La Linea cartoon shorts I love so much.  If you don't know what these are, you can read about them here and here.  Enjoy!

My daughter has her own name for him--"Pencil Baby." I love it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tales of the Wizard of Oz, "Get Out The Vote"

Hello everyone.  I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween and that you thoroughly enjoyed my offerings for the Countdown to Halloween.  Although the Countdown is over, the blog rolls on right now.

Every year, another creepy day follows right after Halloween:  Election Day.  It can't be a coincidence that they're always so close together, which brings me to today's post.  It's another installment of the early 60s Rankin-Bass cartoon Tales of the Wizard of OzI posted one of these during the Countdown recently, and you can see my comments on the series there.

Today, Rusty (the series' name for the tin man) runs for political office in Oz, and appears about as dirty as any real life pol.  Enjoy!