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The OG (Original Grouch)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Footnote 1: Yes, this will eventually be displayed by the mailbox in the front yard, but it's pretty obvious that Oscar's native habitat is among the junk piles in my messy, messy studio.

Footnote 2: I started this piece back in April 2023 and have only just now finished it. While Oscar's fuzz did take a long time, most of that delay was because I was working too hard in 2023. Blech. I promise not to do that again.

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143/2309. Violent Night (2022)
Santa Claus as reluctant action movie star in a film that is exactly what it promises to be. The script is a little rough around the edges, many of the camera shots are too tight, and most of the "actors" were clearly stunt people. But those were largely features, not bugs. If you want to see Santa Claus killing very bad people with a sledgehammer, then this is certainly that.

144/2310. Merry Little Batman (2023)
This Christmas-adjacent movie about Batman's very young son trying to replace his crime-fighting father leans heavily on 1960s animation aesthetics and feels about twice as long as it needs to be. I like the weirdness of the tone and style, but it reached me much too late in life -- and after far too many murderous psychotic Joker stories -- for me to find it endearing.

145/2311. Platinum Blonde (1931)
Frank Capra is the director, but this isn't quite as treacle as the films he would become better known for. It's the old story of opposites attracting and worlds colliding, but it's not very deep and the "happy" ending is an amicable divorce. I didn't care for it.

And that brings us to the last of the 145 movies I watched in 2023. At final count, Glenda Farrell, star of the "Torchy Blane" movie series, was the actor most often on my screen (6 times). The next closest was Jimmy Stewart (4 times in 2024, 23 times since I started tracking in 2012). I'd certainly watch more of both of them.

I'm already 17 new-to-me movies into 2024, which puts me on a pace to exceed my annual goal of 150. Will I get there? Only time will tell.

More to come.

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Wow, what a rough year 2023 turned out to be. Domestic political dysfunction, nonstop foreign wars, losing your starting wide receiver, starting running back, starting defensive end, and starting cornerback in a seven day span just before the playoffs in what was looking to be the most promising season since 1993... Ick. Less of all that in 2024, please.

As seductive as it can be to fall into despair, this is hardly the first time global events have seemed to be spiraling out of control. In such circumstances, it is always worthwhile to listen to voices of wisdom.

I'm reminded of one speech in particular:

There comes a time when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one. There are people dying, oh, and it's time to lend a hand to life, the greatest gift of all.

We can't go on pretending day-by-day that someone, somewhere soon make a change. We're all a part of God's great big family, and the truth, you know, love is all we need.

Honestly, it can't be said enough. We are the world. The sooner we realize that, the sooner we can make the choice to start saving our own lives.

We are the ones who'll make a brighter day, so let's start giving our all and make 2024 a year to remember proudly.

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Twice the reruns in half the time!

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As she was getting ready for bed, Mom said, "You never told me what you thought of the thermometer I gave you."

"What thermometer?" I asked.

"The one I gave you for Christmas."

"You didn't give me any thermometer for Christmas," I insisted.

"Oops."

It was at this point that she realized that although her direct guidance had led to gifts for me with other people's names on the labels, she hadn't given me anything from herself. So hours after the annual family gathering had ended, she went into her closet and emerged with this new stack of gifts just for me.

It was like having two Christmases, the second including a fancy new meat thermometer, which, for the record, I think is very nice.

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Who's to say what 'good' is, anyway?

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Happy 7th birthday, Audrey!

Mom decided against candles; they're not edible

Audrey never cared for unnecessary decoration anyway; she's International style all the way

Sorry, I don't have an "after" photo. You'll just have to imagine a white plate licked clean.

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Last week, knowing that Mom would be busy tending to her wounded beau, I sent a message to my standing group text with my friends looking for someone to accompany me to tonight's 7PM football game between #2 UGA and #9 Mississippi. They ignored me.

To add insult to injury, my so-called "friends" were unsympathetic the following day when I complained about people who put up and decorate Christmas trees the first week in November. Are they really my friends if they hate live football and think Christmas should be celebrated before Thanksgiving? I say no.

So I did what any sane person would do: I deleted the group text chain from my phone and went to the game by myself.

No. 9 Mississippi 17, No. 2 Georgia 52

Sure, it was cold and drizzly, but I still had a great time (and a hand warmer), mostly because the Bulldogs were totally dominant (and because Mom wasn't there to talk me out of bringing a hand warmer to the game). The seniors were celebrated; the veterans were celebrated; the SEC Champion soccer team was celebrated.... After halftime, it was pretty much all celebration inside the 9th largest football stadium in the world. These are good times to be a Bulldogs fan.

There are still two games remaining on the season, but this was the last home game of the year, an unusually early ending to a (mostly lousy) home schedule. Looking back at the four I attended, Kentucky was the most fun, but this was an easy second place. The question is whether I will be back next year.

It is getting very hard to find people to go to the games with me, especially since I have fewer friends than I thought I did. (Christmas tree-hugging bastards!) So spending thousands on a couple of tickets I can't (and don't want to) always use is starting to seem like a bad use of my money.

I'll see how I feel when the bill comes due in February.

In the meantime, do as Miss Manners advises and "finish your turkey before putting up Christmas." Assholes.

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Is now a good time to mention climate change?
Callback!

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They're so precocious at that age

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To be continued...

 

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