Happy New Year. Just a few thoughts on things I heard and saw during the Christmas holiday:
On an interminable drive to Connecticut (a mere eight and a half hours from DC), I popped in a new CD entitled Frank Sinatra: The Christmas Collection, which certainly has its share of classics, including a few duets with Bing Crosby. On the other hand, there were a handful of tracks (clearly from the later years) worth skipping, namely "Christmas Memories," "An Old Fashioned Christmas," "A Baby Just Like You" (perhaps one of the worst), "Whatever Happened to Christmas?" and anything involving Nancy and Frank Jr. (such as "The Twelve Days of Christmas"). I got it at a discount but yet again, the case for iTunes has been made.
I also came across the Hallmark Channel's A Grandpa for Christmas starring Ernest Borgnine. The movie, about a grandfather trying to reconnect with his family, seemed to be more of a pitstop for the once-famous: Besides Borgnine, there was Jamie Farr, Katherine Helmond, Richard Libertini, and even Tracy Nelson (who looked better as a young nun). For the record, my father-in-law had possession of the remote control and that's why I watched it to the bitter end. And no, there was something in my eye that caused me to tear.
On the other hand, my father-in-law's recommendation we watch Foyle's War turned out to be excellent. Starring Michael Kitchen as a British detective solving mysteries on the homefront during WWII, the series is a slow-churning but rewarding crime drama with each episode more than an hour long.
And finally, there were the Kennedy Center honors, which were largely enjoyable to watch (particularly De Niro's tribute to Scorsese, Ricky Jay performing just one card trick for Steve Martin, Steve Carell's remarks, and all of the Leon Fleisher segment). But then came the homage to Brian Wilson. Strangely, none of the other Beach Boys were in attendance. Wilson himself does not look well and showed little emotion throughout. I understand the man suffered terrible bouts of depression and is better now, but I truly feared he would leap off the president's box when the band paying tribute to his songs turned out to be none other than Hootie and the Blowfish.
Why Hootie and the Blowfish? God only knows.
5 hours ago