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Christmas Fullervision Style 2006

days until Christmas.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Story of Christmas: The Birth of Jesus Christ

The story goes, according to the books of Matthew and Luke, that Joseph of Nazareth, roughly the 58th-generation of the Holy Lineage from Adam through David, was engaged to a woman named Mary. However, when Mary (a virgin) became pregnant, Joseph had a plan to end the engagement before the child was born, as not to suggest shame upon the woman. The angel Gabriel convinced him otherwise, telling Joseph that his fiancée was carrying a child of God. So, traveling to Bethlehem to take part in a census set forth by Caesar Augustus, Joseph and the pregnant Mary needed to stop... a nearby "inn" was full, so they directed themselves to a manger, where Mary delivered the child who would be Jesus Christ. Upon Christ's birth, angels of God went forth to local shepherds and distant kings, who came in droves to pay homage to the child and offer gifts. King Herod of Jerusalem wasn't too happy and denounced claims that Christ was any king that would infringe upon his reign, so he plotted to kill the child, asking to "go and worship" him. Having heard divine warning of the plot, Mary, Joseph, and the Christ eventually fled to Egypt. The rest, as they say, is history.

Spread to pagan culures: From debauchery to holiness

As Christianity spread throughout Europe, it ran into many pagan cultures. Many of these cultures had celebrations that marked the winter and spring seasons. Christians, willing to negotiate on the issues in an effort to win over the pagans, converted the winter celebration into Christmas and the spring celebration into Easter, to mark the birth and resurrection of Christ, respectively. At first, the "Christmas" celebrations were examples of sex, drunkenness, and general debauchery until Christian purists demanded that the holiday be taken more seriously.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a legend based upon a philanthropist from circa AD 200 known as St. Nicholas. However, the legend has since grown into a full-blown industry. So here's the general consensus on the legend.
Santa Claus's physical description: he is of unknown height, notably overweight, he has a long white beard and is bald. His wardrobe is almost universally red. The story of Santa Claus's origin is disputed; however, we do know that he is married to a woman known only as Mrs. Claus and that he lives in a workshop on the North Pole. (Note: Geologists may note that there are two North Poles, a geographic [covered in water and ice] and a magnetic [under an island]. Fullervision, for the sake of realistic possiblility, will argue that the workshop is on the magnetic North Pole on Bathurst Island, Nunavut, Canada. Other organizations have argued that Santa lives in northern Scandinavia, as Santa Claus is a Dutch [closely related to English and Scandinavian languages] translation of Saint Nicholas.) The workshop on the North Pole is manned by elves, who are responsible for producing all of the toys in the world. (This despite most claims that they are made by other diminuted people-- the Chinese.)
The apex of activity at the North Pole workshop comes on Christmas Eve (December 24 for those of you in Rio Linda), when all of the elves gather the toys and place them into a large sack for Santa Claus to carry around the world. The sack is carried out to a large sleigh, which is powered by nine reindeer (Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph, the last with a bright red nose to guide the sleigh during inclement weather). Santa also compiles a list, from various sources, of all of the children to be considered "naughty" and undeserving of gifts. The rest of the Christian children are labeled "nice" and are rewarded with gifts from the sack. The sleigh navigates in a fashion so that it arrives at the children's houses at about midnight local time.

Chanukkah (December 15-22, 2006)

Chanukkah, also spelled Chanukah or Hanukkah, is celebrated December 15-22 this year. The relatively minor Jewish holiday is noted so often because it lands in roughly the same time frame as Christmas, one of the most major Christian holidays, and due to the fact that many famous media personalities are Jewish (see Adam Sandler's line of "Hanukkah Songs") The story of this holiday involves a belief that divine intervention allowed one day's worth of temple oil to last for eight days. The custom is symbolized by lighting a menorah of nine candles, one master candle to light the other eight, one for each day. Also involved is a game of dreidel-spinning (the dreidel being a top with four sides, each with Hebrew lettering) and feasts including deep-fried potato latkes (pancake-like creations).

Kwanzaa: It's fake, it's racist, I don't even consider it a holiday.

Media Guide

Radio: Holiday Music Watch

As of December 23, I'm done changing this. There are probably quite a few I've missed, especially those tiny ones that are on syndicated networks, and who changed for the last few days and that's it... but quite frankly I don't want to bother with them.
Programming and playlists being watched with help from Yes.com
HOLIDAY MUSIC WATCH (Last updated 12/12/06)
Station
Status/Notes
Webcast
Buffalo, NY
WBFO 88.7
Playing occasional jazz Xmas tunes
o))
WJYE 96.1
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
WTSS 102.5
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
WHTT 104.1
Playing one Xmas song per hour
Separate XMas Channel
o))
o))
Rochester, NY
WFKL 93.3
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
WRMM 101.3
Playing Christmas music 24/7

WVOR 102.3
Playing Christmas music 24/7

Syracuse, NY
WYYY 94.5
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
WZUN 102.1
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
WSEN 92.1
Playing one Xmas song per hour

WLTI 105.9
Separate XMas Channel
o))
Southern Ontario
CJEZ 97.3
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
CHFI 98.1
Separate XMas Channel
Playing 50/50 Chrismas music
o))
o))
CHRE 105.7
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
CKLH 102.9
Playing Christmas music 24/7
o))
Other Area Stations
FLN Various
Christian Christmas music
o))
WDOE 1410
Dunkirk, NY

WWSE 93.3
WHUG 101.9
Jamestown, NY
Jamestown, NY (country, mix)

WPIG 95.7
Olean, NY (country, mix)

The following outlets are expected to carry Christmas music this year. The holiday tunes will begin a few days before Thanksgiving (this page will be updated and corrected as the stations actually begin broadcasting the music):

Television

Please note that all times listed are subject to change; I've compiled this list through estimation based upon previous years' broadcasts.
Most notable television specials, by network:
  • CBS
    • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Dec. 8 8 PM (Encore tenatively scheduled for 12/21 9 PM)
      The first and original Rankin-Bass claymation special featuring the voice of Burl Ives and the famous Gene Autry song, as well as the longest running Christmas special on television today. In addition to strictly following the song storyline to the word, this series also incorporates several good subplots including Hermie the Dentist Elf, the Abominable Snowman and the Island of Misfit Toys.
      Program usually airs by Dec. 1 but is not on the schedule at this time.
    • Frosty the Snowman Dec. 8 9 PM
      Rankin-Bass's only hand-drawn animation series based upon the infamous winter carol. A brave young girl named Karen attempts to keep Frosty safe from rising temperatures and the notoriously bad (in more ways than one) magician "Professor Hinkle."
    • Frosty Returns
      A leftist piece of tripe produced by CBS as a sequel to Frosty the Snowman. The lowdown:
      • Ah, yes, it's that time of year again. Tonight at 9:30 PM, Frosty Returns once again aired on the CBS Network. And, just like in 2003, 2004 and 2005, I'm going to rip into the piece of tripe for what it is.
        For those who don't know, Frosty Returns was a "sequel" to the longstanding Rankin-Bass animated special "Frosty the Snowman." Never mind that a sequel already existed, called "Frosty's Winter Wonderland," which airs on ABC Family. CBS felt it necessary to produce a new one, with its own little agenda.
        The plot goes like this: Holly DeCarlo is a depressed 9-year-old girl with no friends except a tone-deaf geek named Charles, who suggests within the first 5 minutes that the two make a "fertility goddess" in the snow. (9 year olds talking about sex, in case you missed it.) Holly, upon attempting to perform some magic tricks for the ultimate politically correct celebration, the "winter carnival" (all mention of Christmas has been stricken from the record in this film), has her hat blow off a window and onto the snowman, who transforms into a wisecracking Frosty (voiced by an almost unrecognizable John Goodman). [Now, this is simply an issue of semantics, but Frosty removes his hat several times in the show without reverting to inanimate form... but I digress.] Meanwhile, in some dark and twisted factory in an undisclosed part of town, lies an elderly corporate executive on the verge of senility. His name is "Mr. Twitchell" (voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray) and he has invented a snow-melting chemical he dubs "Summer Wheeze." The town falls in love with the chemical, but Charles is skeptical and, for his class lecture, issues an Al Gore-type speech on how if Summer Wheeze is used and snow stops, everyone and everything will die (literally). To sum up the rest of the plot, the two try to keep Frosty from melting until the winter carnival, where they'll show Twitchell, who comes in looking for the Carnival King, that 1) the chemical is, without a doubt, dangerous and 2) snow is a good thing, using the example of Frosty. Twitchell is chucked inadvertently into the ice and helped out by Holly, Charles and Frosty, and then they head into the sunset together, Twitchell knowing all the better the kindness of a liberal heart. Aww.
    • Movie: Elf Dec. 16 8 PM
      The movie starring Will Ferrell as a man who was raised by elves and has to return home to New York City.
    • Ice Wars: USA vs. the World, Dec. 1 8 PM
      A primarily token figure skating competition that has aired on CBS for the past several years.
    • A Home for the Holidays,
      Rod Stewart takes over this annual Christmas special seeking to find adopted families for orphaned children. Formerly hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford.
  • ABC
    • A Charile Brown Christmas, Tues. Nov. 28 8 PM (replay Dec. 17 7 PM)
      The first animated Peanuts story ever created, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is considered to be one of the best Christmas specials of all time. The story is effectively a lament of Christmas gone awry due to commercial excess and a reminder of what Christmas is truly celebrating.
    • Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Dec. 4 8 PM
      Another Rankin-Bass special, this one focusing on the story of Santa Claus (only loosely based upon the title song). A tripped out hippie scene makes this one a worthwhile watch. Replays on ABC Family.
    • I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! Dec. 18 8 PM
      This sequel to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (actually, the second such sequel) was first released after the death of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, and focuses on the youngest and newest Peanut, Rerun van Pelt, taking in Snoopy's desert-living cousin Spike as a pet.
    • Movie: The Santa Clause
      This 1994 movie features Tim Allen as a toy salesman and father who unwittingly accepts the duties of Santa Claus-- and then physically transforms into him to boot, causing his ex-wife to worry for their child's sanity. It has since produced two sequels. The Santa Clause 2 will air on ABC December 17 at 8 PM.
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dec. 12 8 PM
      The television adaptation of Dr. Seuss's book, narrated by horror flick legend Boris Karloff, about a character who plots to steal all material possessions related to Christmas from the tiny, innocent town of Whoville... but fails to quash the Whos' Christmas spirit. Movie includes famous "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" performance by Thurl Ravenscroft. The program moves to ABC and will also likely air on TBS.
      The 2003 movie adaptation of this story starring Jim Carrey and directed by Ron Howard can be seen on ABC/ABC Family.

    • Christmas parade, Dec. 25 9 AM
      Hosted by Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa from Walt Disney World in Florida.
    • Rudolph's Shiny New Year, Dec. 26 8 PM
      In this Rankin-Bass sequel to the original "Rudolph," the title character is sent out to find the New Year's Baby, who has gone astray in time. Moves to ABC the day after Christmas in a surprise move that I missed.
    • New Year's Rockin' Eve with Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest, Dec. 31 10 PM
      Dick Clark returns with co-host Ryan Seacrest to count down to 2007.
  • NBC
    • Christmas at Rockefeller Center, Wed. Nov. 29 8 PM (note date change)
      A two-hour extravaganza featuring a dozen musical performances and culminating with the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
    • Movie: It's a Wonderful Life, Dec. 16 and 24 8 PM
      The famous movie about a man who wishes he had never been born-- and then sees what his life would be like without him through the help of a guardian angel. Special presentation narrated for the blind by former President George Bush.
    • Movie: The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006), Dec. 11 9 PM
      A live action remake of the Rankin-Bass classic featuring John Goodman as Santa Claus. See "Cable: ABC Family" for a synopsis of the original.
  • CBC
    • Movie: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Dec.10 9 PM
      The third installment of the Chevy Chase "Vacation" series. Clark Griswold and his extended family engage in the most dysfunctional Christmas dinner ever concocted. NBC aired an edited version of this special until 2005.
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dec. 11 8 PM (see ABC for description)
    • Frosty the Snowman, Dec. 11 8:30 PM and Dec. 19 7:30 PM (see CBS for description)
    • The Legend of Frosty the Snowman, Dec. 11 9 PM
      The most recent sequel to "Frosty the Snowman."
    • Robbie the Reindeer Dec. 13 7 PM
      Two British-produced claymation shows featuring Robbie, who strives to become a member of the next generation of reindeer. (The genders and ages of the reindeer are totally inconsistent with those of the original story.) The show was dubbed by American celebrities circa 2000 and released in the United States, an edition likely never to be seen again. It will air on CBC this year, and in the US, the original British version will be seen on the Nicktoons channel.
    • Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, Dec. 14 8 PM (see ABC for description)
    • The Santa Clause, Dec. 15 8 PM (see ABC for description)
      • Santa Clause 2: Dec. 22 8 PM
    • Movie: Elf, Dec. 17 8 PM (see CBS for description)
    • Movie: Jingle All the Way, Dec. 18 8 PM
      Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad battle it out for the latest hot toy for their kids.
    • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, simulcast with CBS Dec. 21 8 PM
  • Cable: TBS
    • A Christmas Story, Dec. 24
      Jean Shepherd narrates his life story through the character of "Ralphie," an enthusiastic young boy whose life goal is to get a Daisy Red Ryder 200-shot Carbine Action Air Rifle for Christmas. Many memorable moments (wow, I've become Irv Weinstein) exist, including the ad-dispensing decoder ring, the tongue stuck to the flagpole on a "triple dog dare," and the continuously repeated phrase "you'll shoot your eye out."
  • Cable: ABC Family
    • "25 Days of Christmas" -- A 25-day virtual marathon of Christmas specials (schedule)
      ABC Family has announced that they're beginning their Christmas programming early with a "Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas." Christmas movies will begin on Friday, 11/24 and resume Sunday, 11/26. (11/22-23 and 11/25 are also under this banner, although those dates are airing regular movies with no connection to Christmas.) Full programming will begin on 12/1, including the following specials:
      • Frosty's Winter Wonderland
        Rankin-Bass's original sequel to Frosty the Snowman, narrated this time by Andy Griffith and built around the song "Winter Wonderland." In this special, Frosty seeks a wife.
      • Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July
        The full-length finale to both the Rudolph and Frosty stories, featuring a very dark and bizarre storyline, some plot inconsistencies, and (drumroll, please)... Ethel Merman!
      • Year Without a Santa Claus (animated version)
        Two kids negotiate a deal with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser (two weather-controlling demigods who have catchy and nearly identical theme songs) to bring snow to the South, but in return, the North Pole is warm for Christmas, which jeopardizes Santa Claus's ability to leave via sleigh.
      • Other claymation specials: Jack Frost, Pinnochio's Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy, among others
      • As well as a handful of movies
  • More cable outlets to be added soon.
  • NOTABLE DISCONTINUED SPECIALS
    • A Garfield Christmas Special
      The story of Jon Arbuckle's trip to Christmas dinner with his family. Garfield eventually discovers Jon's grandfather's old love letters to Jon's grandmother and returns them as a gift to Grandma. CBS discontinued this special after losing the rights to A Charlie Brown Christmas; the two specials had aired side-by-side for several years. CBS sold the rights to Garfield to Fox and they have opted not to air the special; however, Fox has made the special available on DVD.
    • The Homecoming: A Christmas Story
      The made-for-television movie that spun off the television series The Waltons, this story is the tale of a rural Depression-era family who is rocked by the disappearance of their father. CBS had aired the program on Saturday mornings until the late 1990's, when it inexplicably disappeared. It is available on DVD but is rare and comparitively expensive.
    • It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown!
      I have never seen this little known sequel to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" produced in 1992.
    • Movie: Miracle on 34th Street
      The original 1947 version of the story of Santa Claus paying a visit to New York City had been airing for the past few years at 2 PM ET on Thanksgiving Day on NBC. As of 2006, it has been replaced by the movie "Babe." The 1994 remake will be seen on CBC, and the original has been seen on American Movie Classics.
Television Sports (Christmas Day)
  • NFL
    • Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys, 5:30 PM (NBC/Westwood One/FSB)
    • New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins, 8:30 PM (ESPN/Westwood One/FSB)
  • NBA
    • Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat, 2:30 PM (ABC)
  • NCAA football and the NHL are taking Christmas Day off.


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