November wasn't only about pies and movies!
When I was a kid, my favorite Christmas decoration was a pair of legs painted on plywood mounted to the top of a chimney. They were connected to a windshield wiper motor and kicked, like Santa was stuck face down. It was a good gag.
Cue earlier last month when Mom said that she wanted a new Christmas yard decoration. She was looking at lit Santa Claus blow molds like she had on her door as a child, but when she tried to convey the idea, all I could think of were those kicking legs.
I didn't manage the same level of technical innovation, but I think I got the nostalgia angle right.
Kind of looks like a bit of Photoshop there, doesn't it? Here it is a little closer.
My next door neighbor seems to like it. He's already asked where we bought it so that he could get one of his own. Mom had to let him down easy. This Santa stands alone.
I only saw 11 new-to-me movies in the month of November. I'm no numerologist, but that seems an appropriate number.
193. (1632.) Caged Heat (1974)
This was the first movie that Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) directed. They grow up so fast! No, really, it looks only slightly more professional than the average women-in-prison exploitation flick. Hard to imagine while watching it that the guy behind this went on to Philadelphia.
194. (1633.) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
TCM spent the month highlighting films chosen by the The American Society of Cinematographers, and I'm so glad they did. This silent film directed by the legendary F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) with the assistance of two great cinematographers (Charles Rosher and Karl Struss) is almost as perfect as a movie can be. There are very few title cards; the movie simply doesn't need them. This should be a must watch for everyone who loves movies.
195. (1634.) Fashions of 1934 (1934)
A comedy of errors? A screwball? A romantic comedy? A little bit of all of them. Not quite a classic, though it does feature a pairing of William Powell and a criminally underused Bette Davis, for those who love such things.
196. (1635.) The Big Picture (1989)
Kevin Bacon is put through the wringer of the Hollywood system in this satire a la The Player (with less murder). I didn't love it. Didn't hate it. Maybe it just didn't speak to me.
197. (1636.) Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
After watching a Murnau movie, I decided to watch this, a fictional re-telling of the making of Nosferatu as if the vampire was a real vampire. I remember William Dafoe promoting this on the talk show circuit at the time. It's a pretty good atmospheric horror. I liked it.
More to come.
Three panels. Two drawings. One derivative wordplay punchline.
It's like Jim Davis is looking into my soul.
My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner 2019:
It's not just the first apple pie I've ever made from scratch, it's the first pie I've ever attempted. Turned out well, too. The recipe came from the Better Homes and Gardens Complete Step-By-Step Cookbook (1978). An oldie but a goody.
I'll have to raise the bar next year, but in the meantime, my next goal is gingerbread men for Christmas. I'll keep you posted.
ADDENDUM 1: I used Honeycrisp apples. Mom already had some Honeycrisp she wasn't enjoying as eating apples, so into the pie they went despite Friend Robin (and the recipe) calling for Granny Smith. (In fairness to the recipe, Honeycrisp wasn't introduced to the market until 1991, so it would have been real odd for a 1978 cookbook to recommend them.)
ADDENDUM 2: Leaving dinner, my aunt Kelley asked for "a small slice" to take home with her. As I started cutting what I considered a small slice, she shouted, "Not that small!" The piece that she ended up taking was not what I would call small, but I guess Kelley knows what she's doing. She's the lawyer, after all.