“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” Jim Valvano
Today is December 14, 2016, the 348th day of the year.
On this day in 1969, the Jackson 5 made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. The third song the group performed was Smokey Robinson’s “I Want You Back”, which went on to become the Jackson 5’s first number one hit.
Haven’t seen it the Jackson 5 in their premiere? Click this. DO IT.
Can’t have Christmas without Gayla Peevey’s hippopotamus song.
Who was the better Christmas villain, Scrooge or the Grinch?
Scrooge, the central character in Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” certainly has the historical edge with 170-plus years of being worked into the English lexicon. Everyone who hears the name Scrooge certainly thinks of a crooked-nose, graveled-voiced, squinty-eyed, hateful, scowling man.
His line “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” is a classic look inside the black-hearted man. Today, “Bah! Humbug!” is equated with those grumps who see no joy in life.
But the Grinch – the main character from Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?” – the Grinch stole the entire Whovillian Christmas, lied to little Cindy-Loo Who, stole the last crumbs from the town’s mice, and worst of all, made life miserable for his poor dog Max. For me, his treatment of Max gets the edge as the viler character. The song sung by Thurl Ravenscoft is a brilliant description of just who the Grinch was – pure evil personified.
In thinking about the two stories, I’m struck, that despite their evil ways, both are beloved this time of year, especially the Grinch. Can you imagine not seeing The Grinch at least once on TV? Both malevolent characters strike a chord with us because I think we know people like that and it gives us an air of superiority. However, I think Dickens and Seuss knows that there’s a part of us that can relate to the characters, because we find ourselves in our heart of hearts having those Scrooge or Grinch moments.
Yet, both characters are redeemed by the end of the tale and people like stories of redemption. Scrooge becomes an almost second father to Tiny Tim and a generous benefactor to all in the town. The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes and he brings the stuff back to the town. And he, he was chosen to carve the roast beast. The stories give us all hope that no one is beyond redemption.
For me, there is something interesting about Scrooge, and that is first name: Ebenezer. I don’t think the selection of that name by Dickens is an accident DIckens.
The name Ebenezer goes back to the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel (1 Samuel 7:12) in which Samuel set up a stone to celebrate a military victory. The stone was called Ebenezer, which means “Stone of Help”. Isn’t that what he becomes to Cratchit? To the Town?
No one wants to be the Scrooge this Christmas, but we can strive to be the Ebenezer.
Alan Thicke passed away Tuesday evening. Many of my generation will remember him for playing Jason Seaver, the father character on the TV show Growing Pains back in the 80s.
Though known as an actor and singer, Thicke had a brilliant producing and writing career, both for TV scripts and theme songs. He wrote the music for Facts of Life and Different Strokes. He also wrote theme music for game shows, the most familiar being Jokers Wild! and the original theme for Wheel of Fortune.
He also had a bevy of hosting jobs (remember Thicke of the Night?) and in recent years had a long list guest-starring roles, including Fuller House 2, just released on Netflix.
A native of Ontario, Canada, Thicke died playing hockey with teen son Carter. He was 69.