Category Archives: Christmas

Mr. Bean and the Dalek

I loved watching Mr. Bean when I was a kid. The Christmas episode, Merry Christmas Mr. Bean, was one of my favorites and always had me in stitches. I hadn’t seen it in years, so I pulled it up last night to watch and share with my family. It was all extremely familiar to me, until the Dalek appeared. I couldn’t believe it! I have absolutely zero memory of seeing the Dalek before. Granted, when I was a kid I never watched Doctor Who and didn’t know what a Dalek was until I was much older, but I didn’t remember there being a robot at all. I remembered the truck, dinosaur, tank, helicopter, and all the animals, but no robot. It’s so strange, it’s as if the Dalek was just added into the scene. It’s funny how your brain forms and categorizes memories depending on your frame of reference, or lack thereof, for certain things. Anyway, if you haven’t seen this, you must. Classic Mr. Bean at his best. You can watch the full episode on hulu. Enjoy!

Man Down!!!

What the spaceport??? Fresh off the heels of a dramatic reunion, the newest member of the gang has been seriously wounded! This crew just can’t catch a break. Did Buzz make another attempt to fly again just like in Toy Story? We’ll never know – the sole witness to the incident can only say four words (Dada, cookie, balloon, and NO!), so getting to the bottom of this one is highly unlikely.

Broken Down Buzz

No time to waste! It’s off to see Old Wise One, master healer…


Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles like a Boss


My wife and I were shopping for Christmas presents for our kids when we came across the only completely vacant shelf in an otherwise well stocked store. The empty space was for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) toys, and they were completely wiped out!  I knew the Ninja Turtles were making a comeback with a brand new cartoon series, but I had no idea that they had already become so popular. Turtle power is back!

The TMNT toy line was the only franchise for which I absolutely had to have every single action figure that was available. Yes, I fully admit, l still played with them when I think other kids my age had probably moved on to bigger and better things, however, I played Ninja Turtles like a boss!

I put my toys through the mill doing all sorts of nutty things with them, but there was one brilliant moment in particular that stands out.  I had discovered that if I jammed a yardstick into the hinge behind the lid of our old top-loading washer, it tripped the switch that  allowed the washer to run with the lid wide open. From that point on, my turtle antics were launched into epic new territory. Mikey, Donny, Leo, and Raph now had an interactive setting for their adventures. One day they would be trapped by Shredder in a liquid deathtrap seething with bubbly toxic foam (green food coloring and  Tide), and the next day they would do battle with the foot clan while surfing the raging white water rapids. Of course, being amphibious, the boys in green always had the advantage.

When the normal wash cycles got monotonous, I could up the ante by manipulating the washer dial to create instant waterfalls and other special effects. The scene would inevitably crescendo to a dramatic finish as I deviously rotated the dial to spin cycle, upon which the green gang would be introduced to the swirling vortex of death!

Obviously, for safety reasons, it’s for the best that my son can’t use our own energy-efficient, side loading washer, complete with child locks, to play like I did in our old family washer.  But I do hope he has the same creative spirit as I did at that age, before the lure of digital toys, when you had no choice but to be imaginative in play.

On the way out of the toy store, my wife asked me, ” What makes you think our son will even like Ninja Turtles?” And to that, I say, show me a boy (or Dad) who doesn’t!  Cowabunga, dude!


Santa and the Car-Toon Truck at AACA

We stopped in to see Santa during his visit at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) museum in Hershey. He ditched his usual sleigh for the day. Check out his new ride:

Santa's Ride

My kids must have sensed something was off when Santa arrived in an old convertible, without Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer gang, because today neither of them would sit on his lap, and usually they fight over who gets to go first.

It was my first time in the AACA museum, and unfortunately, with all the hubbub around Santa, I ended up having to rush through all of the exhibits. I’ll definitely be going back to more throughly explore the entire museum. If nothing else, I need to get another look at the 1920 Ford Model A “Car-Toon” Truck. The entire car is detailed with thousands of cartoons, comic book characters, and movie personalities, using brush and airbrush techniques. It’s fun and quite amazing to stare at it for a few moments and then begin to focus in on all of the dozens of characters. I only had a minute to see it, although I could easily have spent an hour or so soaking it all in.

Ford Car-toon Truck

Click here to find more images of the Car-Toon truck. What famous personalities or fictional characters can you spot? Go ahead and list them in the comments. I call Spock!

Bonus question: What is the make of Santa’s car?

Counting Down to Christmas in Style

My wife and I don’t spend too much on Christmas decorations since we’ve already inherited a ton of stuff from our families. One thing that neither of us had, however, was a real advent calendar that our kids could grow up with. We finally bit the bullet and invested in an extremely nice wooden one from Byers’ Choice (the “Christmas House” model).  The artwork is gorgeous and it has many compartments of varying size to conceal candy or other tiny treasures.

As a child, I inadvertently sabotaged my own Advent calendar tradition. The chocolates in those cheap cardboard calendars that my parents bought every year weren’t individually wrapped, so by mid-December, they too tasted like cheap cardboard. That’s all good if you actually like your chocolate to have notes of cotton and chalk while maintaining the texture of old sawdust, but I was a tad picky. In an effort to work the system, I adapted to the situation I was given by gorging myself on the entire calendar on the very first day it was presented to me…and that was the demise of yet another family tradition. My new calendar, however, has a failsafe – I actually control the contents! “Look kids, Snickers bars, hoorah!” Or, “What? You don’t want to brush your teeth tonight? That’s ok honey bear. Now, let’s see what’s behind door number four. Oh my, a sample size bar of wild orchid scented soap!”

Even though I’ve seen some really cool new advent calendars on the market (Lego has some sweet ones – why didn’t they make them when I was a kid?), I am quite happy with our one-time investment of a family keepsake, and I fully welcome the challenge of finding fun candy and gifts to fill it with. Although, it’s not too late to snatch up one of those Lego Star Wars Advent calendars all for myself.

I’d love to hear any advent calendar anecdotes of your own!