Short Takes – Deceptions, Both Malignant and Ignorant; Christmas Movies and…Puppy Slippers

Christmas in Narnia

By Charlie Johnston

Adolf Hitler is a monster unique to modern history. He largely is the answer to the theoretical question of what would happen if a psychotic serial killer gained pre-eminent power over a great nation. Thus, it is often truly said that the first person who brings up Hitler in a political argument loses. Serious people avoid this trap (though there are a lot fewer serious people in high places than once there were). Avoidance, though, leads us away from another very serious and important question: how did a madman like Hitler gain sustained power in the first place? As lunatic as he was, he had had some serious political skills we should pay attention to and beware of. He was simultaneously lunatic and brilliant. It is worth noting that many modern figures have implicitly taken his central insights to heart while using him as an icon of evil.

Here are Hitler’s central political insights that cemented his hold on power:

1)     Ordinary statesmen are timid when confronted with resolute willfulness: Hitler spent little time debating (or tolerating debate) over what the best course of action was. He decided what he wanted, took it, and let others debate what to do in the aftermath. Although most of his provocations were obvious, serious statesmen constantly wanted to find a “reasonable” solution rather than actively fight to reverse the offense. Hitler almost always called the tune to which the rest of the world danced.

2)     The most brazen lies paralyze resistance IF they are what your antagonists WANT to believe: Hitler had plans for immediate retreat if France resisted his invasion of the Rhineland, for he knew he did not have anywhere near the force to compete for more than a few days, much less prevail. Nazi Germany could have been killed in its cradle if France had resisted. Instead, Hitler barely had to fire a shot. He immediately started speaking publicly about his deep desire and plans for long-term peace in Europe. The degenerate elite classes ate it up. When he targeted Austria for destruction, he did not even worry about what France and England would do. He had already taken their measure. All that was necessary was that he keep repeating his brazen, but soothing, rhetoric. He did – announcing major peace initiatives upon the nearly effortless conquest of Austria. All Europe knew he was targeting Czechoslovakia, but officially pretended to believe his soothing lies. For those more cynical, Hitler privately offered a share of the spoils. During the late summer of 1938, the foreign minister of Poland privately told Hitler what chunks of Czechoslovakian territory his country wanted to ensure it did not complain or give Russia a pathway to resist. His greed deceived him into believing he was a guest at Hitler’s banquet, rather than the next course.

3)     Accuse those you target for destruction of the very sort of things you do, in order to peel away support from them: With both Austria and Czechoslovakia, Hitler issued demands for the protection of ethnic Germans in their territories, which he insisted were necessary to ensure peace – and were a matter of simple justice. Actually, the demands were designed to be impossibly unacceptable to meet, because the purpose of them was to give Hitler an excuse to invade, not to secure rights for anyone or ensure peace. In fact, at one point when Austria was ready to concede to all, Hitler went into a mad fury because that would not provoke the sort of incident he needed to invade – which is all he really wanted. (I thought of this when, over a year ago, Trump offered to normalize three times as many “Dreamers” as Democrats asked for if they would fund the wall. The Democrats turned the deal down). During the critical moments of the crises and after the invasions, Hitler shamelessly accused officials of the two countries of the intransigency that he, himself, had committed. Though everyone knew they were lies, it soothed their consciences. France even reneged on a treaty obligation with Czechoslovakia to defend it in case of invasion. All the nations of Europe desperately grabbed for excuses not to have to go to any real trouble. The invasion of Czechoslovakia was the last time Hitler could have been stopped before sparking a global war: he did not have sufficient troops to cover his western border had France or England chosen to resist him rather than justify their own timidity and outright betrayal of diplomatic obligations.

Once Hitler saw, after the Rhineland, that France and Germany just desperately wanted excuses to see no evil, he was glad to give them those excuses. While these insights paved the way for his objectively weaker power to manipulate the greater ones into submission, he made a fatal miscalculation – and that miscalculation does not do honor to modern establishmentarian statecraft or morality. The illusions that fueled Hitler’s tyrannical aspirations could only be sustained so long as the great powers could be deluded into shirking their honorable commitments to others.

The invasion of Poland did NOT shake the English people into honoring their commitments to others. Rather, it made functionally clear that all of Europe was Hitler’s target – and that if they did not act, they would soon be on the menu. It was only self-interest, not honor, that finally led England to resist the Nazis, and so they chose one of the last honorable men in England to lead them: Winston Churchill.

In an increasingly post-Christian western world, the dishonorable delusions that fueled Hitler’s rise remain predominant among the elite classes and their supposed “smart diplomacy.” Sad that the new definition of smart should be acting ,” to act as weaselly and dishonorable dupes.” I guess since they can’t actually be smart, it soothes them to call themselves such. Hitler would approve.


A professor recently caused a bit of a row when he tried to include the Virgin Mary in the “Me Too” movement. He claimed that Mary did not give consent to God’s plan for her. I am so weary of the smugly Scripturally illiterate venturing to give theological insight to the rest of us.

The whole point of the Annunciation narrative is Mary’s free embrace of God’s will for her. I call it the “pivot of civilization,” the moment when redemption became possible through the “yes” of a created being. After the Archangel Gabriel explained it to her, Mary simply said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to thy word.”

You want to know why millennials are so ignorant? Just look to their professors who know nothing – and are proud of it.


I’m enjoying some classic Christmas movies this season. A few recommendations:

The Bishop’s Wife: I’m speaking of the original from 1942, with Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young. This movie was probably my childhood favorite, absolutely magical – and retains its charm after all these years. My favorite scenes are the atheist professor’s wine bottle and the boys’ choir.

White Christmas: A 1954 movie with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. It was the music that grabbed me when I was a kid, but the story about the general was pretty cool, too.

It’s a Wonderful Life: This 1946 movie by Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart, is so ubiquitous at Christmas time that it is easy to forget how good and fun it really is. The scene that still grabs me is when George Bailey (the Jimmy Stewart character) tells Clarence the Angel that what he really needs is $5,000. Clarence tells him they don’t have money in heaven. Stewart replies, “It comes in pretty handy down here, bub.” Oh, how I can relate to and laugh at that line!

Miracle on 34th Street: My favorite is the 1947 original starring the young Natalie Wood, but the 1994 remake featuring Richard Attenborough as Santa Claus is very good, too. The latter is the rare remake that did not sacrifice the heart of the original to a glib, modern cynicism.

A Christmas Carol: There are a bunch of these. My overall favorite is the Geroge C. Scott made for TV version of 1984. Both Scott’s performance and the musical score were superb. My only criticism is that the Tiny Tim character was way too saccharin and wooden for my taste. The 1951 version starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge has the best Tiny Tim. It is a VERY close second. The only serious movie version I don’t like is the Patrick Stewart version of 1999. It follows Charles Dickens’ novel well, but the script here has no heart at its center. It is empty and unsatisfying to me. The comic take-offs and cartoon versions do not amuse me at all.

The Santa Clause: Tim Allen’s 1994 performance is wonderfully clever and inventive. Marvelous fantasy. I also like his performance in the 2002 follow-up, The Santa Clause 2. It is not just because of Allen’s charming and winning performances, but because of the clever originality of the scripts, as well. As for The Santa Clause 3, the less said the better.

Home Alone: This 1990 film starring the adorably clever McCaulay Culkin is witty, original, and guaranteed to absolutely delight children. At its heart, it carries a profound message about how things are not always as they seem – and carries hope for real solidarity with those we don’t always understand, from a child’s point of view.

Die Hard: There has long been a heated debate over whether this 1988 hit starring Bruce Willis is or is not a Christmas movie. I come down firmly on the side of IS (though admittedly, it is the only genuine Christmas action movie ever made).

A very popular Christmas movie of recent vintage is 2004’s “The Polar Express.” I have several family members who love that movie. I don’t get it at all. I’m sure some of you love it, but it leaves me absolutely cold. To each his own, I suppose.

The thing about the old movies that grabs me most is that, fundamentally, they reflect who we really were at the time. We really did believe and try to live the simple virtues, to care for others and lend a helping hand. Many young people think these are heavily idealized fantasies. Perhaps, but the culture in which they were set was authentic. If young people can internalize that, these could serve as lighthouses drawing us back to better versions of what we, and the world, can be.


The best piece written this year on the secular left’s war on Christmas (which will tolerate anything but serious Christian or Jewish faith) is written by that gifted cultural observer, Dennis Prager – who is an Orthodox Jew. This war does damage to us all. As to what he says, all I have to say is, “Ditto.”


Today the Fed Ex truck brought me a great surprise: Puppy Slippers! I wrote recently that when my kids were little, they asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said, “Puppy Slippers.” We all laughed, but I never got the puppy slippers. Today I got a beautiful plush pair that I am wearing at this very

Me in my new…Puppy Slippers!

moment. They have three major benefits:

1)     They are wonderfully plush, comfortable and warm.

2)     They scare the cats into behaving around me.

3)     They give me something to dog my now-adult kids out over. I called both today to tell them that, at long last, after a quarter century of waiting, I finally have puppy slippers.

The only downside is that whoever sent them did so anonymously. Whichever reader sent them, I thank you with all my heart for giving Santa a little assist!



While I rarely show my administrative access to this page, I found it quite appropriate to inform all of you (my father included) that it was actually his SON who sent the puppy slippers. An elaborate ruse for all to see. I talked with my dad last night (he called to gloat at the kindness of some of his followers and how inept his children were in the puppy slippers department). Sometimes it really is too easy.

Love you Pops! Merry Belated Christmas!

P.S. See attached screen shot for the proof old man.

Gotcha Dad


124 thoughts on “Short Takes – Deceptions, Both Malignant and Ignorant; Christmas Movies and…Puppy Slippers

      1. Like your list of Xmas movies, Charlie, as it matches mine. However, I would like to suggest another that is part of my list: The Walton’s, The Homecoming. It was a TV movie that sparked the series….great story

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  1. I’ll second your Christmas movies and add my other favorite nostalgic classic, Christmas In Connecticut, for taking a lovely ride in the Time Machine. Christmas isn’t complete until I watch that and The Bishops Wife, at least.

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      1. Actually, I am pretty sure I have never seen Christmas in Connecticut. Not sure how I missed it, but since my favorite Michigan elf recommends it, I’m going to have to get it. I’ll report back this time next year.

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      2. Just a fyi re Ch. in CT: ’45 version starred Barbara Stanwyck/Dennis Morgan; ’92 remake- Dyan Cannon/Kris Kristofferson/TonyCurtis.
        ‘Borrowed Hearts’ is a charming Ch. movie with Roma Downey/Hector Elizondo.

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        1. Oh Diane– the old one!! No contest. I love Barbara Stanwych. She made some great movies. Check out “Ball of Fire” and “Meet John Doe”. Gary Cooper costarred with her in those.

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            1. Oh yes, Mick. Love it. Jane Wyman is in “Johnny Belinda” and “The Yearling” too— also amazing stories with so much heart and morality!

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  2. Charlie, your description of weak, dishonorable, and self-serving politicians who go along with villains to avoid hard decisions, even in the glaring face of evil, unfortunately applies well to our last Administration, and to our current State Dept when led by Rex Tillerson, as they sought to appease Iran while it continued to develop a nuclear missile launch capability:

    “ In an increasingly post-Christian western world, the dishonorable delusions that fueled Hitler’s rise remain predominant among the elite classes and their supposed “smart diplomacy.”

    The Iran nuc peace deal was precisely “smart diplomacy” according to Obama and Kerry, with the leadership of France and Germany just itching to do business again with Iran.

    Great list of enjoyable movies. Next after my favorite To Kill a Mockingbird comes It’s a Wonderful Life.

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  3. It just doesn’t feel as Christmasy this year; with the Scrooges of me:too wanting to bann Christmas music and who knows what else.

    A tree is known by its fruits indeed; It’s not really hard to figure out who is for or against God, but most of the world doesn’t care nor believe in God’s goodness anymore… 😦

    When will this age of ignorance end o dear Lord…?

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  4. Let me get this straight- a pith helmet, puppy slippers, a beard, somewhat vertically challenged and a walking stick. Webster tells us that one of the meanings of the word “pithy” is gnomic. Just saying…..

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  5. Charlie: I, like you, have never been moved by the Polar Express. And Harry Potter is even worse. I read the first Potter book and found it way too dark. Give me the Chronicles of Narnia any day.


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  6. It’s a Wonderful Life is based on a 4,000 word short story written by Philip Van Doren Stern entitled “The Christmas Gift”.

    “Stern found his inspiration for the holiday classic in a dream that he began writing in 1939 as a short story, “The Greatest Gift,” which he finished in 1943. Unable to find a publisher, he sent out 200 copies of his 21-page story as a holiday greeting. One of his mailings landed in the hands of RKO Pictures producer David Hempstead. A year later the studio purchased the movie rights for $10,000, and then sold the rights to director Frank Capra, who brought Stern’s short story to the big screen.”

    Stern was an interesting character. Born in Wyalusing, Pa. A town very much like Bedford Falls. It is said that Capra modeled Bedford Falls after Seneca Falls in upstate NY. At any rate Bedford Falls was a composite of many small communities in America. Reflective of small town CULTURE of the time. Stern went through some very rough financial times during the depression and struggled to support a family. Bounced around a lot.

    Stern claimed that the story came to him in a dream. Just my opinion, but I believe it came from personal experience. I think there was an actual Clarence in Stern’s life who probably saved him from committing suicide during the worst of his troubles. He describes him in this story.

    Clarence Oddbody is the most fascinating character in the film. He is a no name angel in Stern’s story.
    But his physical appearance is defined quite precisely by Stern as you can hear in the link above. That guy was real. A real angel. A real angel in Stern’s life. IMO. Somebody Stern encountered in his own life.

    Stern carefully weaves the single word suicide into the end of the story. I do believe Stern found himself on a bridge somewhere staring in the murky dark waters. Sometime during a bad patch in his life.

    The theme is universal. Oddly the film was a box office flop. It was Jimmy Stewart’s first role coming back from WWII as a bomber pilot. His most powerful moment in the film is in the bar when he has given up all hope and prays to God to help him. It is said that Stewart drew inspiration for the scene from his experience in the war facing his own mortality.

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      1. Just thought I would let you know that my son busted into this piece with an edit at the bottom to note that HE sent the Puppy Slippers…with proof. He enjoyed me razzing him last night, thinking I had something on him, then turning it around this morning. Now he has something on me…how slow I was on the uptake. But hey, I’m still ecstatic. I have Puppy Slippers!

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        1. Oh I LOVE it! Well played, Chaz. Among all the dynamism between this father and son, what a fun duo! I can just imagine the internal snickering Chaz must have had as you called to brag to him, Charlie. It ripples out as joy for us all.

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          1. I actually loved it as it so captured our relationship. Poking, prodding, wittily teasing – yet with deep and palpable affection. When he was a teenager, we would often go off on a riff when we were in a convenience store to the baffled amusement of the clerk. If my son and his son come to have a relationship that is half as good as the one he and I have, it will be a rewarding relationship, indeed – but I pray that it will be even better. (When he was still a teen in high school, as we were driving somewhere, Chaz told me, “You know, Dad, if they ever made a movie about us, it would be a classic ‘buddy flick’.”)

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        2. I was given bear claw slippers one Christmas, Charlie. I wore those poor things out to the point there were holes in the soles. They disappeared…..I have a feeling my daughter tossed them when I wasn’t looking. They too were wonderfully warm. Enjoy your puppies!

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  7. Mary Christmas to all ! Loved your Christmas film recommendations! 👍🏼👍🏼Time to have a net flix moment with my cup of Christmas tea. Last week, I picked up an old Christmas classic from the 60’s ; “the little drummer boy”. This classic short , 25 min , is indeed a hidden gem. Raw emotions of just anger , spur this little drummer to runaway into the desert with his 3 faithful animal friends, vowing to never love again. Worth finding a copy and watching again this holy season. Directed by Romeo Muller this pithy emotion pact and tear jerking short , also features a wonderful soundtrack by the Vienna Boys choir. Last time I viewed it , I was a mere 8 years old , flat on my belly , wearing my flannel pj’s and albeit no puppy slippers , holding back the tears and As i followed the star with the little drummer boy to the humble cave . Yes indeed , “what child is this” as the Baby JESUS heals the bitter heart of a little drummer boy and all of heaven weeps with joy.

    May our Lord heal our angry hearts so buried with excuses and justifications , that we might bring a gift of a greater gratitude and surrender of self will to the crib of our Lord JESUS on this Holy night .

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    1. Great to hear from you, Vanessa! Thanks for the film suggestion. To the beautiful closing with prayer: Amen! Prayers for you for all your needs and for your powerful witness in your sidewalk ministry.

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    2. Vanessa, Thanks for the reminder, found the entire movie on youtube; just type in ‘Little Drummer Boy movie’ . The ending is very moving.
      Love this Pentatonix rendition of the song.

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        1. Mick, yes, it is lovely. A close 2nd is the duet of Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd. Someone added beautiful holy images on a youtube version.

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  8. Charlie,

    My favorite Christmas movies is John Ford’s the Three Godfathers starring John Wayne. I have to watch it every year. You must have seen this one.

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        1. Yes, Kim, it is awesome. My favourite John Ford/John Wayne’s are the cavalry trilogy of Fort Apache, Rio Grande and She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.

          Love Garbo in Queen Christina and Ninotchka and Errol Flynn in The Dawn Patrol and Robin Hood. Old movies are the best. Gary Cooper in Beau Geste.

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          1. Yes, James! And how about “The Quiet Man”? John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara– I think that’s another John Ford movie, too. I love the old stars– so many great actors.

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            1. Kim, “The Quiet Man” is another one of my all-time favorite movies. I love the scene near the end when Kate opens the door on the furnace and Sean throws the money into it. And I also love the question that the Protestant minister puts to Sean: “Is your wife’s love worth fighting for?” And the final brawl… classic!

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              1. Me too, Mick. That part is so politically incorrect–I love it! And then the husband brings the brother home for dinner after their fight. So cute! Those classic movies were so well written and so skillfully acted.

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          2. I love the calvary trilogy but “The Searchers”, “Wagon Master” and “My Darling Clementine” are my personal favorites by Ford. Every ten years the British Film Institute and Sight & Sound magazine polls hundreds of international critics, academics, writers, etc (846 in 2012) for their 10 favorite films. In 2012 “The Searchers” was voted the 7th greatest film of all time. And a lot of these people are not John Wayne “types”. There’s definitely a moment of grace near the end of “Searchers” when Ethan says “Let’s go home, Debbie.”

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            1. For sure, Frank! Heart wrenching– that whole movie. When John Wayne takes her home and he walks out of the door of their cabin…the way he is framed by that doorway. Great cinematography!

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              1. Yes, Kim, the cinematography was great. David Lean studied “The Searchers” before making “Lawrence of Arabia”.

                Martin Scorsese references “The Searchers” in at least two of his films — “Means Streets” and “Who’s That Knocking at My Door”. And, of course, the “Taxi Driver” screenplay is based on “The Searchers”.

                Stephen Spielberg says he watches “The Searchers” every time he sets out to make a new film. In fact, he watched it twice before making “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. George Lucas references “The Searchers” in the original “Star Wars – A New Hope”. In the “Attack of the Clones” when Anakin sneaks into the Tusken camp, it’s a shot-by-shot sequence of Jeffery Hunter in “The Searchers” sneaking into the Comanche camp to find Debbie.

                I could go on at length with the homages paid by other directors to Ford’s “The Searchers”.

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    1. James, I like that movie, too; but I don’t watch it too often because it always makes me cry. Not a good, happy cry like a Hallmark movie, but a sad cry that might leave me with a headache. Have you ever seen “We’re No Angels” with Humphrey Bogart? It kind of reminds me of “The Three Godfathers,” but it’s darkly hilarious.

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        1. Kim: I know, right? When I was growing up, watching classic movies was how my family spent time together (well that, and watching football/basketball/baseball games, which were only on a couple of nights per week instead of 10 games every bloomin’ night like nowadays). Even now on a Sunday, my dad, a kid or two, and I will watch an oldie-but-goodie together (our latest was Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood).

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      1. Mick, I have not seen that Bogart movie. I will have to check it out. The Three Godfathers gets to me, too. But the end – well, I do not want to spoil it for Charlie. One of my favorite John Ford films.

        I will confess that lately I am indulging in watching one of my favorite TV shows, the Avengers with Diana Rigg.

        In fact, now that you made me think, I wonder if Lillies of the Field is a Christmas movie. I love Poitier in that movie. I will watch it again over Christmas.

        Have you received your Saint Michael stone?

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        1. Oh, I LOVED the Avengers when I was a kid. I had such a crush on Emma Peel (Diana Rigg). And Patrick McNee was just too cool to be believed as Mr. Steed. Lilies of the Field is GREAT movie, but I’ve always considered it more of an Easter Movie for some reason.

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        2. Lillies of the Field is fantastic. I saw the movie many years before I read the book; but I really like the book, too (which is unusual for me, as I usually prefer movie versions to the books for some reason). If I remember correctly, Sydney Poitier won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Lillies; thus, he became the first black person to ever win an Academy Award.

          No, my St. Michael stone has not yet arrived. Colleen finally sent me an e-mail saying that she’d be out of town until December 17 and that no orders would be processed until after that date. I’m still hopeful that the stone will arrive before Christmas. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

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  9. Charlie–the only movie on your list that I have not seen is Die Hard–but I have heard it is a Christmas movie–so I’ll look for that to watch. I watched “Miracle on 34th Street” last night and “The Bishop’s Wife” and “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas” in the last week. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my all time favorite movie! Our family always watches “A Christmas Story”, too–the one about the kid wanting a red rider gun—I bought my brothers leg lamps one year–they love that movie so much. Old movies and tv shows are pretty much the only thing I ever watch —when we go to trivia games I always get the answers right in that category. And–I’m such a nerd–I tape Jeopardy every day!

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    1. Kim, I know that there are lots of people who consider “Die Hard” to be a Christmas movie. I am not one of them. The movie revolves around the events that occur at an office Christmas party, but still. That said, I think it’s one heckuva good movie.

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  10. I love MGM’s 1938 version of “A Christmas Carol” which is produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and features a soundtrack by the great Franz Waxman. Virtually every movie is primarily associated with its director who, in this case, was Edwin Marin. But Mankiewicz was such an enormously creative man winning two Oscars for directing and two for writing that I have to think his influence on this film was substantial. The cast is somewhat of a family affair with Gene & Kathleen Lockhart playing Bob & Mrs. Cratchit and their daughter June Lockhart appears in a smaller role. Reginald Owen carries himself well as Scrooge and character actor Leo J. Carroll makes for a creepy Marley’s ghost. This is my favorite version though I think the 1951 Alastair Sim film is the scariest.

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    1. I like Scrooge’s vision of the suffering when Marley’s ghost has him look out the window in that version. I did not realize it was June Lockhart who was the Cratchit’s daughter there.

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  11. At Christmas time in 1991, I saw a “Great Performances” TV movie called “La pastorela” starring Linda Ronstadt. While playful and comedic at times, it holds true to the Christmas story. If you don’t mind watching Cheech Marin and Don Novello (of Father Guido Sarducci fame) I think you’ll find it’s overall reverence touching. To my knowledge, PBS never aired it again and I don’t know who you’d find it.

    A synopsis from IMDB:

    It is the day before Christmas. Gila Diaz is a young adolescent girl, the oldest child in a large rural Tex-Mex family. She is frustrated with her family’s poverty and the drudgery of her life in caring for her many younger siblings. Gila’s parents drag her and the family to midnight Mass. They go to hear the Pastorela, a traditional play about the shepherds who are told of the the birth of Christ and the triumph of the God’s angels over Satan’s diablos. Gila is knocked unconscious by a prop and suddenly she is transported into the real story of the Pastorela and begins a frightening fantastic quest to Bethlehem to find the Christ Child’s manger.

    —Thomas McWilliams

    A preview:

    There are many amateur versions of “La pastorela” on Youtube that should not be confused with the “Great Performances” production.

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    1. All I want for Christmas is an edit function from WordPress. At least they could give us a delete function so we could copy, delete, and repost with corrections. I suppose they offer editing but with a charge associated with it.

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  12. Thanks Charlie for the much needed lesson on Hitler stratagies that are used tiday in our country!

    What are your thoughts on “The Bells of St. Mary” and “It happened on 5th Avenue” both old movies.

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    1. Bells of St. Mary is a wonderful movie. Of course, I love the mellifluous voice of Bing Crosby – and Ingrid Bergman is so beautiful I sometimes wish I was born in an earlier era. But that movie is iconic, too, in that it is what, ideally, you want pastors and religious to be.

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  13. A fairly recent Christmas movie (2013), “The Christmas Candle,” is based on the book by popular Christian writer Max Lucado. A bunch of Susan Boyle supporter-fans from around the world (myself included) flocked to theaters in places where it was shown. (It wasn’t a typical blockbuster, so it wasn’t carried in all theaters everywhere.) We loved it, of course, because Susan played a role and sang an original song, “Miracle Hymn.” The movie is innocent and heartwarming.

    It’s now available on DVD, etc. Here’s a Wikipedia description:

    PS Nice score, Chaz!


    High five!

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  14. OmyGosh those slippers are the best! So exciting. Simple but fun. I concur with your list but last weekend saw a very cute Christmas movie from last year called The Christmas Chronicles with Kurt Russell, and it was SO sweet. Great message. Now I was bustling about doing other things while my Honey was watching it, but I got the overall message and it was good.

    I’m going to make myself sit down and watch Miracle on 34th Street this year in memory of my estranged sister who died in September, as it was her Christmas favorite.

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    1. wpsahm, what a beautiful Christmas tribute to the memory of your sister. I pray that we are united in eternity with our estranged beloved one day with love and forgiveness that transcends time. ❤

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  15. Your latest article is fascinating Charlie. It starts with such a serious topic and moves into the lighter side of this happy season.
    The puppy slippers are the sort of simple thing a person can wait a lifetime to look forward to, and so much fun to share the good news when they finally arrive. Happy Christmas to you, your family and your new twin puppies. LOL

    On a more serious note, it was interesting reading about how we can all be led into deception by those who govern us. Here in the UK right now, we are being psychologically kicked from pillar to post by such a level of deception by Mrs May and her YES men hand picked cabinet; It is hard to believe but we seem to have arrived at subordination to the Fourth Reich as I call the EU.

    It seems like both major political UK parties are under some sort of a spell, and I don’t believe there is one of them with the guts to stand against the new EU dictatorship which is about to swallow us all up. Hitler and Kiser Bill post mortem have to be very envious to see how Germany has finally achieved her dreams. Power and control. Europe first, then the world.

    It is sickening to see America try to savage all the good, President Trump has tried to do; by trying to destroy him. I suppose Maria Esperanza’s prophesy about Venezuela being the first domino in world wide poverty must be the future American democrats are blindly chasing.

    God seems to be kicked out of everywhere, even the Church by those who will have to answer for their arrogance and pride and indifference to the good will of the people under their care.

    Thank God we only have to put up with the rot for one lifetime. For all eternity we will have memories of how appalling and atrocious mere men govern, left to their own devises; and oh boy will we stand with St Michael if any soul tries to challenge Almighty God and His Sovereign Authority over all of us.

    Sorry to have gone on. It just seems like evil is winning the day. But thank God we Know He wins the Victory. We just need to take the next right little step and Trust God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy spirit. In all, for all and in spite of all for ever and ever. Amen

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    1. Julia,
      “Thank God we only have to put up with the rot for one lifetime.” Our hope in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary may happen sooner rather than the later of a “lifetime.” Our Lady of Medjugorje appearances/messages for 37 years to three visionaries suggests, after the 40th year, the revelation of the first of ten secrets will begin the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart. There will be a new Pentecost and millions of conversions to God and the renewal of Christianity. God will place a miraculous, permanent sign in Medjugorje for the world to see as proof of the authenticity of Mary’s appearances and messages. The remaining nine secrets will be revealed soon after which will include a great chastisement. In end, as Our Blessed Mother Mary proclaimed at Fatima, “My Immaculate Heart will Triumph.” Every human being on the face of the Earth will have to make a choice: For or against God. May God bless and have mercy on us! O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee.

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        1. Oh Joseph! I am laughing with abandon. Why? Because I’ve inadvertently done that more times than I can count. Just click the star again and you can get yourself off the hook. PS We love you, Dear Joseph!

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          1. Beckita,
            I love you! Again, your great love pulled me out from under the rock of humiliation and ,made me stand tall. Your “laughing with abandon” at my self-praise mistake is a wonderful consolation to this frustrated. wannabe standup comic!

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            1. Oh Gosh, Joseph. I had my own humbling moment in the last few days on site. Little One pointed out a misspelling in the title of the piece under which our conversation now appears. Before we post Charlie’s work, it’s my job to have his back by reading and noting any typos that may have inadvertently found their way into the text. I think we’ve all experienced how easy it is to miss needed edits in one’s lengthier piece of writing. Well, I missed it. Then again, I read once that about 18-20% of our day is filled with mistakes. So here we are, Joseph, reminded that only God is perfect and our Mama is Full of Grace! LOVE your wanna be standup comic line. 🙂

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          1. Mick,
            I like that, “another soul gets sprung from Purgatory!” If it means the humiliation after having made a fool of myself, I must have sprung thousands from Purgatory in my lifetime! Please expand on springing souls from Purgatory. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, Anne. I had read it yesterday and have prayed for Mark. We all have been through it and/or must go through it. A beautiful homily was given by a priest friend yesterday who came to visit. Apropos to the Feast of St. John of the Cross was the reminder given that we all have a cross to carry. Certain dimensions of what we carry may seem to overwhelm, to crush in ways that feel as if we cannot go on, yet, when we choose to carry on, to bear it, our hearts are dilated, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d, and our capacity to LOVE expands. Not only will we be judged on LOVE, LOVE is the essence of Heaven. The Lady of all Nations spoke to us of how True Peace will be attained when we embrace our cross. On the Via Dolorosa, Jesus certainly drew comfort and support from the LOVE of His Mother, Simon of Cyrene and Veronica. May we all receive and be Mother Mary, Simon and/or Veronica to those we know and those we don’t as we make our way on this Via Dolorosa Tempestatis.

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      1. I love praying the Stations of the Cross and of late have asked God to place me in a state of Grace immediately prior to obtain a Plenary Indulgence for myself (if I’ve been bad) or for a Holy Soul in Purgatory.

        {I do hope everyone strives to obtain a Plenary Indulgence each day, hopefully for a Holy Soul in Purgatory.}

        During the Stations, I pray upon different roles especially what conversation occurred as Jesus meets His Mother Mary. Lately, I have posed something along the lines:

        God the Father consoles His son Jesus thru his Mother Mary on the (4th) way of the cross…
        a movie quote of the Passion of the Christ as Mary says [prays]

        “Help my son”

        God the Father consoles the Heart of Mary:
        -5th Station, Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His Cross. (strength)
        -6th Station, Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus (compasion)
        -9th Station, the holy women & children console Jesus (charity)

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  16. I hate to disrupt this happy talk of great Christmas movies but our friend Mark Mallett needs our prayers. His latest post was so sad and heartfelt in his despair. May he feel the love of Christ and may Mary wrap her mantle around him in peace. I will recite St. Patrick’s Lorica for Protection for him.

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  17. I hate to interrupt this fun discussion of Christmas movies and puppy slippers but our friend, Mark Mallett, needs our prayers. His latest post is so sad and heartfelt in his despair. May the peace of Christ and Mary’s mantle of love surround him in his dark hour. I will say St. Patrick’s Lorica for Protection for him. (I often say it for Pres. Trump as well. )

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  18. At least some good news articles:

    MILINET: Articles for Christians
    Exclusive: The Entertainer puts Christ front and centre at Christmas

    Louis Zamperini’s ‘Path to Redemption’

    Some see ‘devil’s work’ as Ukrainian Church prepares to split with Russia

    Priest travels US spreading Gospel 1 good deed at a time

    Some see ‘devil’s work’ as Ukrainian Church prepares to split with Russia

    Does Freedom of Religion Mean Satanic Displays in State Capitols?–E. Jeffrey Ludwig

    More offensive holiday songs–Andrew Sumereau




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  19. Charlie, three souls released from purgatory for your spelling of Deceptions!

    God story of today. What are the chances that I received a box of mag light flashlights from a cousin in Georgia today -one hour into a power outage? 🤣

    God is funny! God is great!!!

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    1. Ha! I have corrected it. That was a pretty bad error…but not the worst ever. When I was managing editor and chief political columnist for a group of weekly newspapers long ago, the production department (which handled layout) LOVED to do gag page layouts for our internal amusement. Once, when I did a VERY tough piece on a local mayor, they did a big front-page gag headline: “Johnston to Mayor: Drop Dead!” Horribly, that is how it went to the print shop. Thanks be to God the print called to see if that was really what we wanted – and the head of production came out and rushed over the real front page…so it was just an internal legend rather than a public fiasco.

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  20. I humbly suggest that for those who can afford it, please consider making a small donation to Mark Mallett. If you are unable to help financially, please keep him and his family in your prayers. I am struck by the fact that he has eight children. Like everyone, I have to sort through many legitimate requests for donations (Mark actually didn’t make one in his post) and have to turn most of them down. But I sense that we have a true brother in the Lord who is hurting in many ways and who desperately needs help on several fronts. Thanks.

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    1. Yes Frank I agree. He is a real brother in Christ. So many ways he has said Yes over the years…,travelling with his whole family to spread Gods Love to others.albums to evangelise through a music,webcasts,many, many articles……. And other ways he has been an instrument for others. Whatever anyone is able to give….. Let’s do it !…. Prayers. Financial gift….really open our hearts. May Our Lady’s Triumph come heart by heart. I have been reading some of St John Pauls writings….. Oh how I long for a Civilization of Love! may Your Kingdom come.
      A blessed Christmas to all.

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  21. Great that you got your puppy slippers! And even better that they were from one of your kids!

    A movie that I love to see at Christmas is “The Shop Around the Corner” with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan.

    Prayers for Mark Mallett and his family. 🙏

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  22. Praying for Bishop Strickland and all our prelates who are striving – through, with and in the Holy Spirit – to renew the Church by encouraging her children to holiness and faithfulness.

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  23. My favorites: A Christmas Carol with George C Scott, AND The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine as Scrooge [what fun] yearly viewing.
    Definitely have to check out some of the others. Blessed, Happy Christmas to all. [and good night].

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  24. If you can stand one more Christmas movie recommendation, we have come to love “Christmas with the Kranks”. Our kids recommended it a few years ago & we figured we wouldn’t be too impressed. Well, in the end, the parents ended up laughing more than the kids. It’s one of those movies with my favorite theme of a husband who tries to avoid doing the “right thing” while his wife gently nudges him by helping him to realize that the “right thing” is the better way to go. Isn’t that the way it often works it life? Reminds me of your last post on the Blessed Virgin Mary. May Our Lady help all women to be authentic, virtuous women who inspire others, both men & women, to do the right thing ALWAYS!

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  25. We’re going to end 2018 with:

    Huawei executive caught breaking Iran sanctions, and China wants her back desperately even using held tourists as a bargaining chip.

    Artificial Intelligence mischief as these spy on people in their homes, and create believable fake videos of people saying/doing things, and fake objects can be inserted like guns for framing.

    Trump attacked from all sides, will fake news & Liberal repeated lies be his end? A second win in 2020 is starting to look pretty slim.

    And there’s lots more like the Me:too flexing it’s social muscles to target Christmas music.

    Until the New Year hits us with a whole slew of problems, let’s focus on Christian charity for the Christmas holidays which is more than just giving items, it’s also about giving time, love, forgiveness, & patience.

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  26. Thanks for this reflection, Charlie. Nothing changes, eh? Totalitarians: the same yesterday, today… and tomorrow. The disguise gets better, of course, and has reached a peak of perfection (hah!) these days with all our gizmos, but same old, same old behind it all. The Father of Lies.

    I love your historical paralells, they speak to me, with a deep love and respect of history (well, Archaeology was my primary, lo these many years ago). I’d only add that in the case of Austria, it was already rotten from within, and the Anschluss wasn’t so much an invasion as a practical invitation. That’s not gainsaying the resistance of so many good Austrians, of course, but it was really bloodless, unfortunately.

    Perhaps it needn’t have been. I seem to remember reading that a lot of the German Generals were worried that the Austrians would resist, and that a lot of their motorised armament actually broke down en route so it could all have fallen apart? And similarly, Czechoslovakia had fairly formidable defences in Bohemia/Sudetenland, not to mention the Skoda armament works of course, but the threat of bombing, and the desertion of Britain and France, persuaded them not to resist. And so another easy “victory” strengthened Evil. I know you’ve been re-reading Schirer’s book – I must revisit it myself.

    I feel so sorry for those who don’t know, or can’t be bothered to know, history. Or, of course, Scripture. There is no new thing under the Sun, just different masks.

    A blessed Christmastide to all here. Speaking of which, and Dickens, as one does, the 1971 British animated version of “A Christmas Carol” is very good. The great Alastair Sim narrates, and the illustrations, and narration (albeit cut down) are totally based on the original 1840s book. The soundtrack is “God rest ye, merry gentlemen”. It’s probably a bit “clunky” by modern standards, but one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve seen. I remember seeing it as a kid on Christmas Eve, and it’s always been in the memory. Well worth the Google (can’t post the link).

    And so: God rest ye all here merry, Gentlepersons!

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