I am Thankful.

November 20, 2012

I can’t believe that it’s Thanksgiving week. I was just out today shopping for extra sides for Thursday’s meals and waiting in line at the supermarket longer than usual with others who had the same plans. I was planning on buying my turkey today, however my son came home from school with the basic essentials for a Thanksgiving meal. I’m assuming that because of the hurricane, there must have been holiday donations given out at the school. I’ve gotten rolls, sweet potatoes in a can, corn, carrots, a turkey, and Stove Top stuffing. I guess it does make sense since my neighborhood is basically a disaster area and there have been a tremendous amount of donations given in the area. Since things are tight at the moment, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I’ve taken a picture of the corn and carrots in the can because I did not recognize the logos or brand names. The carrots brand name is Happy Harvest and the corn is from Foodtown. Foodtown does sound a bit familiar but I couldn’t place it. I did a search and Foodtown is the name of a supermarket, which is around certain areas of NYC, but not around me. Happy Harvest is a brand name from the Aldi supermarkets, which have several stores in the local New Jersey area.

It’s also hard to see in the picture but the turkey brand is Round Hill, a brand that can locally be found in Wegman’s supermarket, which are also located in New Jersey. After completing this small sleuthing, it occurred to me that this food was donated here from surrounding areas looking to help out people affected by Hurricane Sandy. I think it shows the goodness in people, which is something to be thankful for, whether or not you see the generosity up close and personal.

I now also see the eagerness of others wanting to help with my new job. There are people making food and serving it for free near where I work. It helps the neighborhood because there are still people in the immediate area without power. People I work with and others who are cleaning up the area get free lunch willingly from these awesome people.

I started this week as part of park and beach cleanup, which has fellow coworkers and I relocating sand due to extreme beach erosion. The job is pretty tough and our crew is slowly getting smaller, but my body is adjusting to the work and I really like what the primary goal is. For the past year, I have been running on the boardwalk and bike paths in this area, but can no longer do so due to the storm. It was quite depressing to see all the damage in the area and a complete sense of normalcy will not come until the park and beach reopens.

Sand from the beach on the nearby street.

It’s also the tiredness of my job that has made me miss a few days of posting for Feastmas, but I plan to post daily until Thanksgiving, one of my most favorite holidays ever. It’s only three more posts left until Feastmas is over and I really want to get a few more articles in. Nothing specific, but just to celebrate Thanksgiving my way.

My Top 10 Macy’s Parade Balloons

November 13, 2012

The title is very self-explanatory. I want to list my favorite balloons that I’ve enjoyed as a kid up to current parades. Note that I said “my top 10” instead of “top 10 of all time.” It drives me nuts whenever I click on a YouTube video of top 10 cartoons of all time and every entry originated on Nick Toons. So here are My top 10 in no particular order.

Snoopy

The balloon has made it’s first appearance in 1968 and has become a favorite ever since. It has become more prominent when Macy’s starting selling Snoopy plush dolls with the Macy’s logo on them. It is now at the 6th version and still going strong. Definitely a parade classic!

Pink Panther

Unfortunately this balloon is no longer featured at the parade because the show is rarely aired and the size of the balloon is larger than the newer size requirements. I remember the balloon appearing in many parades when I was a child and will always be a favorite.

Bart Simpson

The same year the Simpsons Thanksgiving episode aired, the Bart Simpson balloon made it’s first appearance in the parade. I was a huge Simpsons fan at the time and seeing the Bart balloon made me very excited.

Spider Man

I was always a fan of the web slinger and was always psyched to see him in the parade when I was younger because he wasn’t on TV as much as he’s been lately. Also, the balloon always had a cool action pose, which separated it from the other balloons.

Mickey Mouse

Mickey has been in the parade since 1934 and has been going strong ever since. ┬áThe fourth version was released in 2009 and is Captain Mickey, who is promoting the Disney Cruise line. I’m a big fan of Disney and especially the parks so seeing the mouse make an appearance is always great.

Pikachu

This is more because of my youngest brother. He was very young and into Pokemon. I took him to the parade at Times Square in 1999 and there was a huge poster of Pokemon the movie. We also talked about Pokemon all day. There was no Pikachu that year in the parade but everytime I see his balloon, I remember that day and what a fun time I had.

Kermit the Frog

Who doesn’t like Kermit the Frog or the Muppets? Again, I would like to see Kermit in the parade as a kid because I used to love the Muppet show and other movies like the Muppets Take Manhattan. Kermit gets more screen time due to Disney and their new movie so he’s now more relevant than ever. He also sang Rainbow Connection, possibly one of the best movie songs of all time.

Ronald McDonald

Every kid loves going to McDonalds. I would always get excited whenever the family car would pull into the parking lot and the same thing happens to my son. The only difference is that my son unfortunately doesn’t know about Grimace, the Hamburgler, or the Fry Guys. For shame.

Garfield

I’m a big fan of the lasagna eating cat and his primetime animated specials, which is why I like his balloon. I couldn’t tell you how many times I saw his Halloween or Christmas special. I discovered the Thanksgiving special a few years ago on DVD and I’ve grown to love that one too. You can’t go wrong with Garfield.

B. Boy

B. Boy or Balloon Boy debuted last year and was created by Tim Burton. It’s such a crazy balloon and is a weird fit for the parade so I became an instant fan. I love Tim Burton’s animated works so that’s another reason it’s on this list. I hope he becomes a regular.

Do you have any favorites that are not listed here? Post them in the comments below!

March of the Wooden Soldiers

November 11, 2012

I spent quite some time sitting in front of a blank screen thinking about how I’m going to start this blog post. How do I talk about a movie that’s very old yet very popular? What kind of perspective do I bring to a movie that practically everyone has seen and is aired every year. After pondering what to write, I guess eventually I came to this conclusion: I love this movie.

There are elements in this film that I do not like. For instance, I hate excessive singing. That is a reason why I don’t go to Broadway. But I don’t want to make a list of what I don’t like about it because it would be pointless. Anyone can make a nickpicky list about anything. This movie is entertaining and funny. I may have only watched one or two other movies with Laurel and Hardy, but this movie shows that they are great and play off each other very well. There is a lot of clever scheming when it comes to taking care of the mortgage. The movie turns to an action film when the Bogeymen show up with their rubber faces and puffy backs. This is a great movie that ages well.

Those wild and crazy guys!

I mention this movie because it has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition for many years of my life. I remember as a young boy that I used to flip the channels between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and this movie every year. When I figured out how to use a VCR, I would tape the movie and watch the parade. When 12pm would hit, I would put on the movie. I had nothing to do since school was closed and I was too young to cook, so why not spend the day in front of the television? I used to do that lots of times.

The movie would air every Thanksgiving on W.P.I.X. 11 in New York City. That was the same channel where I discovered the Twilight Zone Marathon. Since I used to watch a lot of TV during the school summer break, it was also where I discovered the awesomeness of the Batman hour. Even though it was an hour long, the show would still say, “same bat time, same bat channel.” Television at it’s best.

It has actually been a few years since I’ve seen the movie on network television but it’s not because it hasn’t aired. I truly have no idea if it is still on at Thanksgiving. Some networks also air the movie on Christmas but many remember it playing on TV in November. I’m going to keep a look out for it this year and see if the tradition has been kept on TV. If not, I guess it’s another movie for my Blu-ray collection. Believe it or not, it has just been released for 3D Blu-ray. I have no idea how that looks, but I would give that a shot. I’m assuming that in 50 years from now, they’ll release the Holodeck version and that should be fun.