Sunday, December 31, 2017

Dear 2017: I regret nothing

Photo by Ari Helminen via Flickr

I regret nothing! 

Well, almost nothing.

I am ready to wipe the filth of 2017 off the bottom of my shoes, sweep it up, and put it out with the trash. This has been the worst year I’ve ever experienced. I’ve lost so much that seems essential to a good life. First, my optimistic respect for my fellow Americans. Granted, millions have had a change of heart. But it’s too late for them to be trusted, for my part. I’ve also lost my pride and love for my country. Despite millions of Americans fighting against it, we are falling into fascism. I’ve lost any and all appreciation and understanding I once had for Republicans, conservatives, and evangelical Christians.

It’s difficult to live with all of this. The small amount of comfort I once had--the little voice that used to console me--that people, in general, were good and kind and would choose freedom over despotism...well, that's shattered. It's time to wake up to the fact that people are, in fact, as I always suspected: racist, bigoted, controlling, fearful, greedy, vile, ignorant creatures. 

Rational people are far outnumbered by the wilfully stupid. Fairness is a minority view. The understanding of freedom, the love of it, is hard to find.

Welcome to the real world.

But I have no (mostly) regrets. I don’t miss the so-called friends I’ve lost on social media. It was rather a shock to find out that I went to high school with so many people walking on the edge of fascism just waiting for a push to the dark side. (And the number of racists! Holy shit, I live in a cesspool of bigotry here in Florida.) I don’t for a second regret calling my father out on his despicable allegiance to Trump. (This, too, was something of a confusing, frustrating, bizarro-world revelation.) I have no qualms with my labeling of Trump supporters dumber than rocks.They are. And I'll continue to say it to their faces. 

I’m ready to move on, though, into 2018. But just because I’m ready to put 2017 in the sewer where it belongs doesn’t mean I’m not taking some things with me.

I plan to continue to call out fascism. The conservative, racist, authoritarian, white nationalists won’t go away quietly and we need to stay vigilant. The way in which the oligarchs have stacked their hand against democracy does not fill me with optimism. I don't see this ending well. But, if we must go down, we must do so enraged.

I’ll no doubt continue to be disappointed in those who remain on the sidelines, who don't see what all the hoopla is about, and who wish I would just shut up about it. I’m having trouble understanding the blinders these people wear. Is it my studies of history? Is it my depressing amount of empathy? Am I just smarter? Older? Whatever it is, there are others like me out there. I’m glad that I’m not alone and have found allies to stand with against what is to come.

This past year was truly awful. I feel as if I fell into a boggy mire of horror. I struggled for a full year to convince myself that this has really happened to my country--this is not a nightmare. I let this year stall me, batter me, and pull me under.

That's my one regret--that I let it get to me, stymie me, and hold me back from accomplishing what I should have.

I feel strong enough, finally, to stand up and stop letting what’s happening to us weaken me. I’ve been in a very dark place since November 2016, and I know I’m not alone in that. I’ve stuffed myself with food in search of some comfort. I’ve lost sleep. I stopped exercising. And I failed to write the books I needed to write. I've walked around with a nagging sense of hopelessness and disgust.

No more. I will not let the despicable slime that is Trumpism, fascism, and white nationalism hang over me like a suffocating blanket for one more day. I am so done with 2017.

Happy New Year, bitches.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Great Holiday Movie Countdown (with notes)

Pic by BrianFagan via Flickr

I haven't blogged in a while. It's not that I haven't had anything to's just that all of the things I wanted to say had a lot of swearing involved and I didn't feel like it. You know how they say, don't go to bed angry? Well, I think "Don't blog angry" is probably good advice as well. So, I waited, and waited, and waited until I wasn't mad anymore and I'm still mad. But, there is something going on that I'm not mad about and here it is:

The Great Holiday Movie Countdown (with notes)

I lay out all of the Christmas movies on the coffee table (I don't drink coffee but I don't have a better word for that table that sits in front of the couch that mostly exists for the cats to slide across after a nice run/jump). And I put them in order of when they'll be watched. They can be in any order, except for the last three movies. Two absolutely must be watched on Christmas Eve (yes, I'm an atheist, but that's another blog entirely) and one must be watched on Christmas Day.

So, here's this year's list.

Dec. 15
It's a Wonderful Life

I haven't watched this film for a couple of years, so tonight, I will sit down and do it some justice. This is a classic holiday film, filled with all the feels and nonsense one expects from an "uplifting" story. But I love it. Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight. Buffalo gals won't you come out tonight aaaaaaaannnnnnndd dance by the light of the mooooon.

Dec. 16
Die Hard

Die Hard is a great Christmas movie. It has all the feels. Hans Gruber thinks he's just so smart. And John McClane walks on glass! And a dead guy rides up the elevator. The jerk gets shot and you don't know how you feel about that, but the other jerk gets punched in the face and you're so glad. Christmas!

Dec. 17
Die Hard 2

Die Hard 2 is not as good as the first one, but it's still good and you've just watched the first one so you might as well do it. It's not like you'll get a chance again until next year. And frankly, it's not like you'll ever say to yourself, "I think I'd like to watch Die Hard 2." Of course not. If you want Die Hard, you'll go to the original. But you've watched them both every Christmas for so many years now, you just do it and don't really feel like you have to explain yourself.

Dec. 18
Home Alone

One of the best Christmas movies ever made, am I right?! This is a must-see every year. (Technically, these are all "must-sees." That's why they're on the list. Well, okay, not the first one. It's true that I skipped the first one for a while.)

Home Alone is so wonderful, with the old man and all, and the little kids singing, and the fabulous opening song! It's not Christmas without it.

Dec. 19
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

How can it be possible for the sequel to outdo the original? I'm not completely sure it does. Maybe they're tied. They're both so fantastic. This one has the pigeon lady (seriously, that's her name). And Tim Curry! "Get on your knees and tell me you love me." OMG.

Dec. 20 
Trading Places and The Year without a Santa Claus*

While I don't really understand what's happening with the buying and selling of Trading Places, I have to see Dan Akroyd, drunk, wearing a dirty Santa suit on the bus, pulling a smoked salmon out of the lapel and biting off a hunk...with all the fake beard hair mixed in. It's just not Christmas until I've seen that.

The Year without a Santa Claus is one of those old, weird, stupid tv shows. It's pretty ridiculous.'s tradition.

*All of the second mention films will actually be watched before the main feature, but I couldn't list them first, because they're not as special as the main features they accompany. (It makes sense to me.)

Dec. 21
The Santa Clause and Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever

I'm not a big Tim Allen fan, but The Santa Clause is pretty adorable. I get a bit peeved at stories that promote "belief," and cringe at the "seeing isn't believing, believing is seeing" bullshit line. But other than that, I like it. Judge Reinhold's character is worth it.

This will be my first viewing of Grumpy Cat's movie. I got it as a gift last year. I hear it's awful. But is it awful, as in, I'll be donating it? Or is it, say, Sharknado awful, gaining it a spot on my traditional Christmas movies list? We'll know on Dec. 21.

Dec. 22
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Despite the killing of the cat, Christmas Vacation is an absolute necessity for the holidays. The reindeer mugs, Cousin Eddie's dickey, the burnt turkey, and the insulting in-laws. The whole movie screams family togetherness.

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is one of those movies I grew up watching as a kid. So, I kind of have to watch it. It's rather dark, when you think about it, what with Abominable and all.

Dec. 23
A Christmas Carol and Frosty the Snowman

I've probably seen every adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol ever made for tv or film, including the one with Henry Winkler (egad) and there are only two that I love and watch regularly. The first (not the best or my favorite) is the one with Alastair Sims. The old man is a perfect Scrooge. Tiny Tim could be tinier, but you can't have everything. And what's really cool is that Mrs. Naugatuck is Mrs. Cratchit! Was that woman always old?

Frosty the Snowman is another one from my childhood. One of those stories that doesn't really make all that much sense (I mean, how does Karen get to the North Pole and back before dinner?), but who cares, there are bunnies.

Dec. 24
The Muppet Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Muppet Christmas Carol is the best and my favorite Scrooge movie! The muppets! The sets! The music! Tiny Tim is just the right amount of tiny! You can't beat this film for Christmas cheer and feels!

As for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, make no mistake. I'm talking about the original cartoon television special. I watched it every year as a child and it's still a favorite. Little Cindy Lou Who who was no more than two. Max in his antlers. Max disappearing beneath the bags of Christmas shoved out the chimbly! It's wonderful.

That other Grinch movie with Jim Carey is an abomination. No, seriously. I tried to watch it three times and it's just so bad, so horrendously awful, in every way--story, acting, costuming, directing, timing--in every possible way, Ron Howard screwed up that movie. I need to calm down. I hate that movie so much!

Dec. 25
A Christmas Story

I have this on DVD, but I won't necessarily need it. At least one channel will show it non-stop on Christmas Day. But I do like it without commercial breaks now and then.

A Christmas Story is the second best Christmas movie (after The Muppet Christmas Carol) and that's why I save it for last. (Again, this makes sense to me. Christmas Eve is actually the best night so my favorite is watched then and Christmas Day is the second best day/night, even though it comes last.)

I don't want to talk about that abomination live show they're doing. Putting my hands over my ears and shouting BLAHBLAHBLAH. That doesn't exist. It shouldn't exist. There is no way it can measure up. And why do you want to do that anyway? Why take a fabulous film and try to do it again, knowing full well that you'll ruin it? Beats the hell out of me.

So, there you have it. The great Holiday Movie Countdown. I have a lot of movies to watch in the next ten days, so I better get to it.

Happy Holidays.*

*That's right: Happy Holidays, ya filthy animals!