AN EXPERT ON GUILTY PLEASURES

GUILTY PLEASURE – EXPERTISE

I think most of the things we enjoy would be counted as guilty pleasures by someone else. You might say we’ve become guilty pleasure experts.

The other night, Garry and I watched “Paris When It Sizzles” on Netflix. Universally panned, it is generally regarded as awful. Except among movie buffs — like us — for whom it is an officially designated guilty pleasure.

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We laughed all the way through it, although it isn’t supposed to be funny. It got us talking about other movies we’ve seen that were panned, but which we liked.

The one that came immediately to my mind was “Flypaper,” starring Ashley Judd and Patrick (“McDreamy”) Dempsey. It opened and closed without a single good review and made less money in its American release than I made on my last freelance job. But it cost $4,000,000 to produce.

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On February 27, 2013, I reviewed it on Serendipity — FLYPAPER (2011): A PLEASANT SURPRISE. It’s been getting a slow but steady stream of hits ever since. When I looked in my stats, I saw I’d gotten a hit on that review, the source for which was Wikipedia.

Wikipedia? How could that be? I clicked. There was my review, referenced by Wikipedia. Flypaper (2011 film) has two numbered references in the reference section. Number 1 is my review. What are they referencing? The grosses.

That Flypaper made a pathetic $1100 and opened on just two screens in one theater during a single weekend. Serendipity is their source for this data.

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Where did I get my information? I looked it up on IMDB (International Movie Database). Not the professional version. Just the free area anyone can access.

IMDB is, to the best of my knowledge, an accurate source. But it’s not a primary source. Clearly the financial data had to have come from somewhere else. Maybe the distributor? IMDB got the info from elsewhere, I got it from them, then Wikipedia got it from me. The beat goes on.

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How in the world did I become a source? If you have ever wondered how bad information gets disseminated, this is the answer. I don’t think this information is wrong. If it is, it’s harmless.

But a lot of other stuff proffered as “fact” is gathered the same way. Supposed news outlets get information from the Internet. They access secondary, tertiary and even more unreliable sources. They assume it’s true. By proliferation, misinformation takes on a life of its own and becomes “established” fact.

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Scholars, journalists, historians and others for whom truth is important should feel obliged to dig out information from primary — original — sources. A blogger, like me, who gets information from who-knows-where shouldn’t be anyone’s source for “facts” unless you’ve confirmed the information and know it’s correct.

For me to be a source for Wikipedia is hilarious, but a bit troubling. How much of what we know to be true … isn’t?

BLUE CHRISTMAS

My Top 10 Sad Christmas Songs, Rich Paschall

While you are dashing through the snow, listening to jingle bells and silver bells all the way, enjoying the winter wonderland, you may be thinking of joyous music.

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After all, it is a time of joy to the world, peace on earth and good will to men.  If you are on a sleigh ride over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house where you will pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie, you may think “Baby, it’s cold outside,” but that probably will not dampen your holiday spirit.  While some songs lift you up, there seem to be an abundance of those that do the opposite at this most wonderful time of the year.

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If you need something to wallow in, then Country and Western might be your genre.  There are plenty of people dying off or running away for Christmas.  Johnny Cash gave us the “Ringing The Bells For Jim.”

Yes, Jim is dying throughout the song, but it does sound like he will make it in the end.  On the other hand, none of us make it in the end.

Marty Stuart chipped in with “Even Santa Claus Gets the Blues.”  It seems his favorite reindeer was lost in a hurricane.  I’m not sure why they were in a hurricane exactly.  Rumor has it that the reindeer was Dasher and not Rudolph, just saying.  You can download the blues on MP3 and there is even a website that will teach you how to play it on your guitar.

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Rock and Roll pumped out plenty of sad songs over the years.  Marvin Gaye said “I Want To Come Home For Christmas.”  As we know, Marvin should not have gone home at all.  Early rockers, the Everly Brothers, told us “Christmas Eve Can Kill You.”  And of course, Taylor Swift has written about another boyfriend breakup in “Christmases When You Were Mine.”  That’s not surprising since she breaks up with all of them rather quickly.

The rock and roll list is rather substantial.  I have some of them for you in my top 10, so on with the blues!

10. Someday At Christmas, Stevie Wonder  The pop star tells us that things may be better someday, but “Maybe not in time for you or me.”
9.  The Little Boy That Santa Forgot, Nat King Cole  Not only did Santa forget him “he hasn’t got a daddy.”  This one might make number 1 for some people.
8.  Christmas Shoes, Bob Carlisle  A little boy wants to get his mother a nice pair of shoes for Christmas.  It seems she is dying and he wants her to have a nice pair when she gets to Heaven.  This ranks 10 on the Tear-Jerk meter. (Link version by NewSong).
7.  Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg  Despite the title, the lyric is actually set on Christmas Eve where the singer meets a former lover.  At the end, the lovely Christmas snow turns to rain.
6.  I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Bing Crosby  You may know this by another artist but Crosby was the first.  Recorded in 1943 during World War II, it seems the fighting boys will only be home in their dreams.

The top 5 may have brighter and more popular music, but they still have sad lyrics.
5.  Last Christmas, Wham  A lot of rockers have gone for this one, including Taylor Swift.  It is her kind of song.  You know, “Last Christmas I gave you my heart. The very next day you gave it away.”

4.  Merry Christmas Darling, The Carpenters  The song came out in 1970 right after the duo hit the big time.  Lovers are apart at Christmas and Karen delivers a sad sound as only she could.

3.  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland  If you think this melancholy song is sad now, consider that director of “Meet Me In Saint Louis,” the movie where the song first appeared, found it so depressing he ordered the lyric rewritten.  The director, by the way, was Vincente Minnelli, one of Judy Garland’s husbands.

2.  Blue Christmas, Elvis  This one would have to be on everyone’s list.  As you will see in this live version, a thin and sweaty Elvis makes all the girls swoon while he sings sad lyrics at them.  I don’t think they were listening anyway.

1. Please Come Home For Christmas, The Eagles  The original version was by blues singer Charles Brown.  Released in 1960, it made number 1 on the Christmas chart in 1972. The Eagles had a mega hit with it in 1978 and it actually appears on their Greatest Hits album, which was a huge seller.

A BIG FAMILY … A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE

A Photo a Week Challenge: Extended Family

From Nancy Merrill:

“We all come from somewhere. We all have people we consider family, whether blood kin or chosen kin. The holidays are a time when we connect or reconnect with family and friends who make up our support systems, and extended family becomes very important. I hope that this holiday seasons brings you and your families great joy and closeness, no matter which holidays you are celebrating.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR THREE…) THAT FEATURE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY, BLOOD RELATION OR NOT.”

I didn’t take these pictures. Many were taken by family members or passing strangers.