2021 NFL End-of-Season Snapshots

I did a post like this after Week 8 of the NFL season (NFL Midseason Snapshots) and figured it was only right to do another one at the end of the regular season.

Here is a quick look at all 32 teams and my brief thoughts – snapshots – on how they did, how they’re doing, or how they will do. Also, some unsolicited advice is sprinkled in where I deem necessary.

z – conference winner
y – division winner
x – wild card spot

x – Arizona Cardinals (11-6)
The Cardinals were 7-1 when I told you there was something I didn’t trust about them. Losses to the Seahawks (twice), Bears, and Lions, overshadow their win on the road against the Cowboys. A first round playoff exit is coming.

Atlanta Falcons (7-10)
The NFC South is the Buccaneers’ for as long as Tom Brady is in the league. The Falcons need to find the heir apparent to Matt Ryan and build up their depth in order to be ready to challenge for the division again in 2-3 years, or whenever Brady retires.

Baltimore Ravens (8-9)
Personally, I’m not a fan of going for a two-point conversion to win the game, instead of kicking the extra point and going to overtime. The Ravens did it twice this season and were unsuccessful both times. If they went to overtime, do they win those games? No idea.

y- Buffalo Bills (11-6)
I’m only worried about the Bills because I don’t think they played enough good teams this season. They split the season series with the Patriots, beat the Chiefs on the road, and then lost to the Titans and Buccaneers. Their other opponents did not make the playoffs. I said after Week 8 that I wouldn’t want to play a road game at Buffalo in the winter, but it’s the Patriots who get first crack at it and I will never doubt Bill Belichick.

Carolina Panthers (5-12)
They started out 3-0 and Sam Darnold was leading the league in rushing touchdowns and then it all came crashing down. Just like the Falcons, they need to have a roster ready to win the division when Brady retires.

Chicago Bears (6-11)
Maybe I’m naive, but I feel like if they have the same “lightbulb moment” the Eagles had this year where they realized they should run the ball more, then we could see a 9-8/8-9 Bears team next season. Chicago ran the ball 46.7% of the time this year (8th most in the NFL). Let’s kick that up to about 54% and have a defense that can keep games tight. Lean on the run until Fields develops as a passer and you bring in more wide receivers.

y – Cincinatti Bengals (10-7)
I’m so proud of the Bengals. They won the AFC North and host a playoff game against the Raiders. I said it after Week 8 and I’ll say it again: Joe Burrow will be a perennial MVP candidate.

Cleveland Browns (8-9)
Baker Mayfield suffered a partially torn labrum in Week 2 and played through it, as well as other injuries, all season. I respect that a lot and will admit, he won me over. With one year left on his contract, next season is a big one for him.

y – Dallas Cowboys (12-5)
The Cowboys are like a Ferrari that slows down, just to playfully mock the slower cars, before speeding away into the distance. If you’re a Ferrari, be a Ferrari. Don’t wait until the following week to prove you’re a Ferrari. That being said, I don’t like their matchup against the 49ers in the first round.

Denver Broncos (7-10)
Their offence is a franchise quarterback away from being deadly. Isn’t everyone’s, though? Unless they draft someone who has immediate success like Justin Herbert, the play here might be to try and get Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, somehow. I would happily settle for Jimmy Garoppolo, or Kirk Cousins if they’re available. It’s inexcusable that Jerry Jeudy only has three touchdowns in his first two seasons in the NFL.

Detroit Lions (3-13-1)
Dare I be optimistic about the second-worst team in the league? For starters, they never gave up on their coach and fought until the very end. That was cool. They lost three games this season by two points, one game by three points, and also tied one. I know “close” doesn’t count for anything, but they were close to five extra wins and an 8-9 record. I’m just saying.

z – Green Bay Packers (13-4)
The Packers’ competition in the NFC playoffs consists of two dome teams (Cardinals and Cowboys), three warm weather teams (Rams, Buccaneers, and 49ers), and the cold weather Eagles. The road to the Super Bowl goes through Lambeau Field. The Packers have a climate acclimation advantage against all of those teams, except the Eagles, but that’s fine because they are much better than the Eagles. The Packers can’t possibly mess this up, right?

Houston Texans (4-13)
I’m still disappointed they didn’t trade Brandin Cooks to a contender at the trade deadline, unless he didn’t want to be traded.

Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
To quote my midseason post: “They’re staring a 9-8 season right in the face, unless they find a way to beat the Bills, Buccaneers, or Cardinals.” I only needed them to win one of those games to secure a 10-7 record on paper and they went ahead and won two of them! Unfortunately, they lost to the Jaguars on the road and missed the playoffs. Make it make sense.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-14)
Please hire Byron Leftwich as your next Head Coach. The reasons are too obvious for me to type out.

y – Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
It was a rocky start, but the Chiefs turned it around to win the AFC West. They don’t seem as invincible as they have been in previous years, but they’re not exactly a team you want to face in the playoffs, either.

x – Las Vegas Raiders (10-7)
Even when they were leading the division at 5-2, I didn’t think they’d make the playoffs. But then they go win the final game of the regular season, also known as the greatest football game I’ve ever seen, and sneak in before the door closes.

Los Angeles Chargers (9-8)
I know everyone says, “Same old Chargers”, as they have a star QB and still can’t get anywhere, but I think this will be their final setback before being a fixture in the playoffs for years to come. Justin Herbert is just too good.

y – Los Angeles Rams (12-5)
The Rams went 5-4 in the second half of the season, lost Robert Woods, signed Odell Beckham Jr., lost Darrell Henderson, and got Cam Akers back only six months after he tore his achilles. It feels like they are just trying to hold on, but the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl at home has been slowly slipping away.

Miami Dolphins (9-8)
The Dolphins were the first team in NFL history to have a 7-game winning streak and a 7-game losing streak in the same season. That’s…something? I think if they find a better option at QB, they’ll move on from Tua Tagovailoa.

Minnesota Vikings (8-9)
I said it at the midway mark, their four losses were all by 7 points or less, which put them behind the eight ball with a tough schedule ahead. They went 5-5 against that tough schedule. The Vikings surrendered almost as many points as the last place Jaguars this season, so that needs to change.

x – New England Patriots (10-7)
Where there’s a Bill, there’s a way. What else is there to say? Do you want to face the Patriots in the playoffs? I don’t.

New Orleans Saints (9-8)
They’re in the same position as the Falcons and Panthers in the NFC South. Build now and have your team ready to take over the division as soon as Brady retires.

New York Giants (4-13)
I don’t think they can give up on the arm strength and mobility of Daniel Jones just yet – he’s only 24 – but I guess that’ll be up to the new General Manager to decide.

New York Jets (4-13)
For a 22-year-old rookie QB, Zach Wilson faced a pretty tough gauntlet of opponents. He didn’t throw an interception in his last five games, so I’m going to take that as a big positive going forward. Give him some help and some time. He’ll be good.

x – Philadelphia Eagles (9-8)
Oh boy, the Eagles are in. They need to crank the “no one expects us to win” PR messaging to a 14 this week and almost lure the Buccaneers into a false sense of security. Then they need to run the ball, eat the clock, and don’t let Tom Brady on the field. Take the points when they can and sneak one out. The game within the game should’ve started yesterday.

x – Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1)
Ben Roethlisberger’s NFL career began when I was in Grade 8. It almost came to an end two days ago, but the Raiders didn’t want to tie the Chargers and send the internet into further pandemonium. I don’t like their chances against the Chiefs, but anything can happen.

x – San Francisco 49ers (10-7)
I really like the 49ers. If you take away their passing game, they’ll still find a dozen ways to get their best players the ball and room to run. And they run hard. All of them – Samuel, Kittle, Aiyuk, Mitchell. Everyone is finally healthy, so look out.

Seattle Seahawks (7-10)
It has been reported that the Seahawks have no plans of trading Russell Wilson in the offseason and Wilson, himself, has said he wants to win more Super Bowls in Seattle. That’s all fine and dandy, but what happens if a team makes them an offer they can’t refuse?

y – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)
I don’t like the vibes around the Buccaneers this year (and that was before the Antonio Brown exit). Kay Adams basically said the same thing this morning on Good Morning Football, so if she’s feeling it too, there must be something to it. I’ll never doubt Tom Brady, but something is off with this team.

z – Tennessee Titans (12-5)
I was wrong. I said the Titans were over-confident in thinking they could play the same style without Derrick Henry. Well, they did play the same style and it earned them the top seed in the AFC. I’m a big fan of Mike Vrabel.

Washington Football Team (7-10)
The Football Team will be getting a new name on February 2. Internet sleuths figured it out because the WFT weren’t exactly careful with blurring out pieces of paper that had the new logo, when showing a video of the coach reacting to it. I won’t say it here, but I like the new name!

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First Time Watching: Rocky II

I guess I’m committed to the Rocky series now. I mean, I’m not about to run up a bunch of steps and bounce around once I get to the top, but maybe some day.

Let’s get to it.

Before Watching

After finishing Rocky, it was clear to me that Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed were going to have a rematch. It was a classic story right out of pro wrestling, which meant the villain (Creed) was going to be embarrassed that an unranked fighter (Rocky) took him the distance.

Creed’s ego would get in the way, he’d obsess over defeating Rocky, and he’d do anything for a rematch, so he could redeem himself.

And that’s exactly what happened.

In A Nutshell

Rocky retires from boxing and marries Adrian. They buy a house and are expecting their first child, but neither of them are working. Rocky doesn’t want Adrian to work, but he doesn’t have any qualifications for the jobs he applies to.

Adrian goes back to work at the pet shop, while Rocky goes back to boxing and accepts a rematch with Apollo Creed. Adrian doesn’t want Rocky fighting, but after she falls into a coma and delivers their baby boy, Rocky Jr, prematurely, she tells him, “There’s only one thing I want you to do – win.”

Rocky wins by knockout and is the new Heavyweight Champion.

The First Five Minutes

I was getting flashbacks to the VCR era, where you intended to tape over a previous recording, but didn’t rewind to the beginning, so some of it was still on the tape. As a result, you’d have to fast-forward through the old show to get to the one you wanted to see.

That’s a roundabout way of saying, the first five minutes of this movie were the same as the last five minutes of the first movie. It was copy and paste.

A lot of movies claim they “pick up right where the last one left off” but this one actually did that.

We finally get to new footage and it’s Rocky and Creed running into each other in a hospital hallway, with a mob of media around them. Where was security?

Creed proposes the rematch, about an hour after saying there would not be a rematch, but Rocky is ready to retire.

Rocky is Retired

Rocky is 30-years-old and has decided to retire from the one thing he loves doing – boxing. There wasn’t even much fanfare around his decision. It was the exact antithesis to how Shawn Michaels retired.

Though, I guess if they were going to tell that story, it would’ve been Creed who would’ve pulled out the, “If I can’t beat you, I have no career” line.

With retirement, comes opportunity! Unwanted opportunity. It seems like everyone and their uncle is looking for Rocky to go into business with them.

Moments after Rocky’s marriage – which I’ll talk about in a moment – he’s asked about investing in condominiums. He doesn’t even know what they are.

Since Rocky is now a recognizable public figure, of course he has to be in commercials! The only problem is, he’s not a very good reader and struggles to deliver the lines on the cue cards.

He’s no Shaquille O’Neal selling Icy Hot.

Maybe they should’ve had Rocky sell school supplies. There would’ve been a Rocky, Paper, Scissors joke just waiting to be made.

The Proposal

Rocky and Adrian go to the Philadelphia Zoo and stop in front of the tiger exhibit, where the fence separating them and the tiger looked to be about three feet tall. It was terrifyingly short. I was expecting a groundskeeper to walk by and make a joke like, “Don’t stand there too long, or the tiger might come out to play.”

This fence was shorter than baby gates you put around the house. It was like putting a straw in the middle of the road and calling it a speed bump. It might as well have not been there.

Anyway, Rocky asks Adrian what she’s doing for the next 40 to 50 years. As you do, before you get engaged, I guess. He finally pops the question: “I wonder if you wouldn’t mind marryin’ me too much.”

Was it even a question? I don’t know. Adrian understood him, though. She said yes.

They get married and buy a house without even looking at the second floor. There could have been a baby elephant up there and they wouldn’t have known until they started moving in their furniture.

No one even flushed a toilet to test the water pressure! It was a hasty purchase.

Coming out of Retirement

Creed calls out Rocky on TV, calling him scared and accusing him of hiding. Typical “bait your opponent into a fight” tactics. I’m surprised he didn’t pull out a “na-na na-na boo-boo”.

Rocky’s trainer, Mickey, immediately goes over to his house and says it’s time to crush Creed. Rocky agrees, while Adrian isn’t a fan of the idea at all.

I think if Rocky were able to get a job, other than working at the boxing club picking up spit buckets, then he wouldn’t have gone back to boxing. But he felt like he had to financially take care of himself and Adrian, so this was the only way, whether she liked it or not.

The Tiger

Earlier, I mentioned the Tiger at the zoo and how it eavesdropped on Rocky’s proposal. Hey, maybe it was the “hidden” photographer? I don’t know.

A bit later on, Rocky is driving poorly down the street and pulls over in front of a store that is displaying a black jacket with a tiger on the back, in the window.

Without breaking into a whole, “How much is that tiger in the window” song and dance, he drags Adrian into the store and buys her a watch, as well as the tiger jacket for himself.

I think it was fairly obvious the movie wanted to associate Tiger-like qualities with Rocky.

The Chicken

When Creed was trying to pull Rocky out of “hiding”, a cartoon ran in the newspaper called, “The Italian Chicken” which was a play on Rocky’s, “Italian Stallion” nickname. Creed wanted people to think that Rocky was scared, while the movie combatted that with making us think he was a Tiger.

Mickey was training Rocky and pulled out a chicken, claiming that chasing the chicken would help his footwork. The chicken didn’t seem to have wheels, but who am I to judge?

Later on in the movie, Rocky finally caught the chicken. I’m pretty sure that was symbolic of the fact that Rocky wasn’t running from Creed anymore, thus squashing the “Italian Chicken” moniker.

This movie was intricate with its use of animals as a literary device, but I sniffed them all out.

Adrian is in a Coma

Adrian falls into a coma after delivering her baby, prematurely. The doctor told Rocky that is was the result of strain and being overworked, which is exactly why he didn’t want her working. He didn’t want her to worry about anything.

And yet, it was his boxing comeback that caused her the most stress.

Rocky is a Reader

This was another small plot point, like the tiger and chicken, that they weaved throughout the movie.

Rocky had trouble reading the cue cards at the commercial shoot, so he went home and would read to Adrian in bed. She always encouraged him.

And then when Adrian was in her coma, Rocky would read to her.

The whole reading thing, was just a small part of the overall story, but it did mean a lot. The “throwaway scenes” in this movie actually had value.

Other Things

There were two Rocky training montages back-to-back, separated by a 30-second seen of Rocky putting Rocky Jr. down for a nap. I thought it was a bit excessive, but the people love the training montages so you have to give them what they want!

The guys huddling around a trash can on fire made a return in this movie and it seems like they just sing all the time now. I liked when Rocky referred to them as the Neighbourhood Jukebox.

Rocky was almost late for his fight because he stopped by the church to ask the priest for a blessing that if he got hurt, it wouldn’t be too bad. It sort of reminded me of when Kevin McCallister went to see Santa Claus before he “protected” his house on Christmas Eve.

Conclusion

I liked the movie! I don’t think I liked it more or less than the first one so I’ll go with an answer you’d hear at the eye doctor: “about the same”.

Again, it didn’t really feel like a boxing movie, as so much as it did a movie about a young couple trying to grow together. Perhaps that will change in the third movie, since Rocky is the Heavyweight Champion now.

As a viewer, I don’t crave another match with Creed. Personally, I’m a bit bored by him. However, if there is a rematch, I fully expect Creed to try and employ some underhanded tactics inside and outside the ring, in order to gain an advantage. He’s desperate now; he’ll do anything to get his championship back.

That’s how these feuds go in pro wrestling, so we’ll see.

Don’t spoil anything for me!

Have you seen Rocky II? What did you think of it?

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Share Your Blog 2022

It’s the first Monday of the year, which means it’s time for the 4th annual Share Your Blog event!

Yes, we have food and refreshments. We also have music, swing sets, bowling, laser tag, mini golf, chairs that recline, soft carpets to rub your feet on, hidden passageways behind the bookshelf, a puppy play pen, a piñata, a money tree, and more (this implies loot bags)!

We also have hors d’oeuvres falling from the ceiling every 15 minutes, in the basket of miniature hot air balloons. Be sure to catch them.

Basically, there’s something for everyone, as I have combined all of your childhood birthday party experiences with your wildest dreams. If I’m missing something, we are already over budget.

I started doing this event in 2019 as a way for bloggers to meet other bloggers because as much as we say, “I’m blogging for myself”, it’s pretty cool when other people are around to support us.

So, let’s make this as big as we can make it!

All I ask of you is the following:

1. Introduce yourself, and your blog, in the comments section below

2. Share a link to your blog (will also accept social media links)

That’s it! Have fun with it.

Please feel free to advertise this on your blog! We each have a blog circle, the goal is to make the circle bigger. Almost like an outrageously large game of Duck, Duck, Goose. I promise, no one will have to run.

Throughout the day, as well as the days that follow, come back and see who else has joined the party in the comments.

I’ll also be sending a tweet out today where you can reply to it with a link to your blog.

Now, to introduce myself:

Hi, my name is Paul and I’ve been blogging since 2013. I like sports, seafood pasta, the colour red, tennis balls that have bounce, jokes that don’t land, and many things from the 90s. I watch too many TV shows, listen to too many songs on repeat, and drink milk every day.

The theme of my blog is me and whatever is running through my mind at the moment. If you scroll through my posts, you will find me bouncing around to different subjects, making references you didn’t think I was capable of making. If you don’t appreciate someone who tries to infuse a little bit of humour into almost everything, allow me to try and change your mind.

Blog: The Captain’s Speech
Twitter: @CappyTalks

Fun for all, vote for Paul!

Now it’s your turn!

Again, let your blog friends know this is going on! I didn’t put out any newspaper ads, so we’re going old school – word of mouth aka gossip.

Happy Share Your Blog Day!

Note: To keep the comments section easy to scroll through, I won’t be replying to comments. Just know I see you and if you’re new here, welcome!

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2021 Year-End Blog Montage

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been a sucker for a good video montage. Well, this is a blog montage. It’s like a video montage, but instead of a collection of clips, it is a collection of words meant to encapsulate the year that was, here on The Captain’s Speech. To put it together, I scoured through all of my posts this year, absorbed their essence, and repurposed them for the sake of – what I hope is – entertainment.

The general idea for this has been festering in my mind since probably the end of 2018, and I’m so proud to have finally figured out a way to do it.

So, as I sign off for the final time this year, I leave you with my 2021 Year-End Blog Montage. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in 2022.

In many ways, I think getting older is just about constantly finding a new place to belong. That’s how I feel. Whether it’s a physical place, a group of people, an online community, or just the knowledge that there are others out there who like the same things as you.

It’s as they say, ’tis better to be a horse than to have never been a horse at all. You know the quote.

At some point in my life, I convinced myself that I can’t sit through three-hour movies. It’s just not something I ever wanted to do. So, naturally, I started watching Titanic at midnight.

Are you good at trivia? Welcome to The Captain’s Quiz! Don’t bother studying, don’t bother sleeping, don’t bother at all. There are no right answers. There are only answers. Who wants the crown? Come and get it.

Wait, where was Celine Dion? You mean to tell me they used an instrumental version of her song? My heart can’t go on. How can it go on? Instrumental? What is this, an elementary school band? Quick, somebody find a teacher with a guitar. We’ll settle for a recorder. Unbelievable.

I can’t draw. All of my four-legged animal drawings look the same. I am Vincent Van Oh-No. How do you know how long your lines should be?

Time out. The romantic storyline that unfolded in The Notebook started when a poor boy named Noah climbed a ferris wheel and threatened to jump if Allie didn’t go out with him? Somebody cast this kid for Joe Millionaire.

You’re not flying, Rose. You’re on a boat. Wrong method of transportation.

T is the inaugural Captain’s Quiz champion!

Life is like a box chocolates, just as long as you don’t read the label that tells you exactly what’s inside the box. Go home, Forrest, you don’t have to run anymore. You’re sending your future self a time capsule of aches and pains.

We call it a bird’s nest, but do birds call it a treehouse?

If you’re a bird, I’m a bird. And I live in a treehouse.

How do you draw an orange without just drawing a circle?

There is too much stuff. And every stoff (singular of stuff, obviously) has a dozen different companies making the same thing. When will enough be enoff. I’m just here creating words, don’t mind me, except YOU SHOULD. Tell me to stop. We don’t need more stuff and here I am creating it!

MESSES!

Getting older should be optional. Like, “press your belly button if you agree to these terms and conditions”.

Jeans are uncomfortable. This is the mountain of clothes I will overstay my welcome on, though I’m pretty sure I’ll be comfortable because I won’t be wearing jeans.

AND STILL Captain’s Quiz champion, T!

If you’re a duck, I’m a duck.

Just put liquid in the cup. I can tell when a television character is handling an empty cup of coffee. Put liquid in it! It doesn’t have to be coffee! We just need some weight in there to add some thrill to the scene.

JUICE SPILL!

Turn the boats around! There are people on the ship. There are people in the water. There is a band that won’t stop playing what sounds like a Christmas song, but isn’t. We must save them. Turn around! Why aren’t you turning around?

How in the world do you draw a bowl?

THE MOTHER HID THE LETTERS FROM ALLIE!

This is Chef Paulo and we’re going from A to Z with food, so I hope you know your A-B-Seas because we are diving right in!

Bill has escaped the Captain’s Quiz victorious! The boyhood dream has come true.

You need a Quarterback. Draft a Quarterback until you have a Quarterback because you need a Quarterback and your current Quarterback is not going to be your Quarterback two years from now no matter how hard you convince yourselves that you can turn him into a franchise Quarterback.

J is for Jimmies. They’re not mine, they’re not yours, they’re Jimmy’s.

So, over the course of a year, Allie never saw the mailman arrive once? Never checked the mailbox on her own volition? She was hoodwinked, hard.

If you’re appalled, I’m a Paul.

This isn’t about 1967. This is about 2021! As a Leafs fan, I am ready to get hurt again.

The not-so-teenage witch, Sabrina, has won the Halloween edition of The Captain’s Quiz!

PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE POST-IT NOTES ON THE MIRROR!

O is for Once Baked Potato. You put it in the oven. You bake it. You take it out. You eat it.

On Wednesdays, we wear pink. On Fridays, we go to house parties where we are always the last ones to arrive and can’t just find one place to stand for more than a minute. On Monday, Danny DeVito is a guest speaker at school.

You need a Quarterback, not a Nickelback, so burn it to the ground, look at this photograph, and draft a Quarterback.

Well, kumba-ya failed with the optimistic approach, Paul.

When a movie plays three different songs within the first three minutes, that’s how you know it’s a big budget production.

CLEAN UP! CLEAN UP! EVERYBODY, CLEAN UP!

Welcome to The Blogger Games! The most difficult multiple choice exam of your life because the questions are about me and I gave about 18 options for each question. Good luck!

T is for Twice Baked Potato. You put it in the oven. You bake it. You take it out. You do the okie dokie and turn yourself around. You put it back in the oven. You take it out. All done! So undercooked, you baked it twice!

Tokyo 2020 took place in 2021 but they still called it Tokyo 2020. There were no fans, only empty seats. It was sad, but also fun, but sad because it couldn’t be more fun, which made it sad.

I was disappointed the Raptors moved up in the draft lottery because it meant they probably weren’t going to pick Scottie Barnes. Well, what do I know? They picked him anyway! Eat dirt, mock drafts and general consensuseseseses! You better have pronounced all of those -es add-ons.

FIIIVE GOLDEN RINGS!

Taking slow, deep breaths throws me off my rhythm. It feels like I’m getting an internal service error, so I go back on auto-breathe and act like I didn’t try and do it manually. The body is smart, take a step back, and let it do its thing. It doesn’t need you.

I am how old? It is what year? 2010 was how long ago? Our bodies don’t keep statistics that we can print out at any time? Big Macs have gotten smaller over the years? Wording statements as questions to avoid the harsh reality that they present? I would never?

We don’t want your pee pee hands contaminating shared surfaces. Somebody had to say it.

T gets her third Captain’s Quiz crown!

Does anyone actually trust hotels that don’t have carpeted hallways? Let’s get a Netflix documentary on that!

Four something somethings. Three blind mice. Two turtle doves. And a cartridge in a printer. That’s how I “sing” that portion of the song. I should look up the real words one of these days. Yes, I know it’s a partridge in a pear tree. It’s the fourth day that I’m totally lost.

Was I a fan of Forky? Does a family of three bears hate porridge? Oh, sorry, I’m supposed to be done the whole rhetorical questions bit. Forky could’ve been an actual character.

FOUR CALLING BIRDS? WHAT?

What comes after? Does all of this end when Tiger King stops making additional seasons? How far out are we from another video of celebrities singing? We are so far removed from the days of puzzles and banana bread.

I’m just picturing a four-way call with birds:

“If you’re a bird, and you’re a bird, and you’re a bird, then I’m a bird.”

“Yeah, okay. So, the McDonald’s parking lot again tonight for dinner?”

“Cheap, cheap.”

Welcome to our first Quizmas together, while very far apart. The in-house band, The Pauls, are here to kick things off before we find out which of you reindeer will lead the sleigh tonight.

The humans were so oblivious to all the toys. At some point, they have to get a clue, like that 2002 Disney film.

It’s the biggest race ever. Winner take all. My stomach is in my throat.

You did it Monty! You won the Captain’s Quiz!

WE HAD THE HORSES! AND THEY WERE READY TO GALLOP!

For me, most blog posts are about a single idea. I don’t know how I get from start to finish. It’s like climbing a set of stairs – you don’t really think about lifting your legs, you just do it. That’s me and writing.

I stop typing when I run out of stuff to say.

– Paul, The Captain’s Speech 2021

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2022, Where Are You?

Yes, the title of this post should be said to the tune of the Scooby-Doo theme song.

I have been nominated by my blog friend, Renata, to share my goals for 2022. It looks like this blogging challenge started out as a, “where will you be this time next year” but Renata made it a combination of goals and looking ahead.

Well, I can’t stick to a script either, nor do I want to hotshot (rush) some life goals for myself over the course of the next hour, so I’m going to keep this light.

The rules to appease the schools:

  • Thank the person who nominated you. I tip my hat to you, Renata.
  • Write your own goals for next year. Coming right up.
  • Write how you’re going to achieve these goals. The SMART principle I learned in Grade 9.
  • Tag at least five blogger friends.
  • This last one is optional, but in 365 days, write a post about whether or not you’ve been successful.

Read Books Again

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have forgotten that books are for reading and not just stacking into large piles. I probably have close to 20 books that I need to get to. I didn’t complete any books this year. I got 22 chapters into one, which still isn’t even half way, and haven’t gone back to it even though it sits 6.5 inches away from this computer every day.

Yes, I got a ruler and measured.

Trust me, I’m dying to read all of them. I just haven’t.

The excuse I’ve given myself is I don’t have time. If I read, it’s going to be later at night. But by then, I’d rather watch TV, or play video games, or blog, or obsess over my fantasy football team, or or or – there’s always an “or”.

A few years ago, I had a #NewBookNight theme going that never really crossed over to this blog. Maybe I bring it back?

Watch The Netflix Shows I’ve Neglected

Hey, no one said these goals had to be productive to society.

I am way behind on everything.

I haven’t seen the latest seasons of: Atypical, You, Outer Banks, Dynasty, Riverdale, or Tiger King. I still don’t know what Squid Game is actually about, if not calamari.

I haven’t started Seinfeld from the beginning yet, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve seen most episodes on TV over the years, but it’s not official until you watch it from the start. And I say that as someone who normally dislikes watching the same episode of a show, twice.

Who knows what other shows I’m missing out on.

I find that there is never a good time to start a show, in which the first episode is 50 minutes in length. That just cuts me at the knees before I even press play.

Stretch More

I started stretching more in 2020 and found I wasn’t waking up sore the next day. I stopped doing it as often this year, for reasons unknown to me, so let’s bring it back in 2022.

I view stretching and movement (physical activity, if you will) as something that will really be of benefit to older Paul, while also making present day Paul feel good.

It’s a gift to myself, from myself, is what I’m saying.

Write Everything

I talk myself out of writing many blog posts because I think I’m the only one who will care about what I’m saying. I think, “They’ll click ‘like’ on the post I write about wrestling, but they won’t actually care about it.”

I’m going to stop that line of thinking because to be honest, I don’t care anymore. You’re going to get whatever I press Publish on. If it’s not interesting to you, that’s fine. I need to stop trying to please everyone.

There are some blog ideas I’ve had kicking around in my head for a few years. One of them makes its debut tomorrow because I finally figured out how to do it. I hope you enjoy it. Look for more new ideas in 2022.

More Blog Connections

I don’t know if it’s me, or the blogging community, but I feel like I haven’t made many new friends/connections on here over the last few years. No matter how many community-driven blog initiatives I try, it just feels like I’m in a barrel.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun barrel, but I know there’s more outside the barrel.

I now feel somewhat awkward whenever I discover a new blog and comment on a post. So, I’ve pretty much stopped doing that because in the past, I’ve felt more like an intruder, rather than a welcome addition.

I’m not saying they need to follow my blog back, or like any of my posts. Not at all. It’s just a different vibe around here – a different interaction – than it was in 2015.

Well, that’s my list of goals for 2022!

I hereby nominate:

Becky

Cass

Sabrina

Aaron

rebbit7

No pressure to do it if you don’t want to!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned tomorrow for one final post of 2021!

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Madden

The legendary John Madden has passed away. He was 85.

I’ll try to find some words, but this hasn’t fully sunk in yet.

His documentary, All-Madden, just aired on Christmas. It was incredible and is worth your time. There were moments where those who knew Madden best were talking into the camera, but then it cuts away to a shot where we see Madden sitting and watching that footage on a TV in front of him.

I thought it was so great that he got to hear how much he meant to so many. I thought about how many phone calls, emails, and text messages he’d receive once it finished airing. I thought about all the people thanking him for being him and how he deserved all the praise in the world.

And three days later, he’s gone.

It doesn’t seem fair.

John Madden was great at everything. He was a Hall of Fame football coach, who retired after 10 seasons, at the age of 42, with a winning percentage of .759.

Madden then went on to become the greatest colour commentator in football, if not all of sport, winning 16 Emmy Awards. He used the telestrator as both an educational, and comedic, tool, to teach fans at home the X’s and O’s of the game, while also entertaining them. He made football, fun. He also made Turducken a Thanksgiving staple.

He has been the face of EA Sports’ NFL video game series since its inception in 1988 – Madden NFL. The game has sold more than 250 million copies.

I told you, he was great at everything.

Madden transcended generations. Depending on when you were born, you were enrolled into the Madden School of Football and Entertainment at a certain stage in his life.

Someone get out the Sorting Hat.

Maybe you were first introduced to him, and his array of arm gestures, when he was on the sidelines as Head Coach of the Oakland Raiders. Maybe you know him best as a colour commentator, who eventually worked for all four major broadcast networks: CBS, FOX, ABC, and NBC.

Or, maybe you’re like me and grew up learning football by playing the EA Sports Madden NFL video game.

Yes, I remember seeing Al Michaels and John Madden on TV calling games, but I was between 10 and 16-years-old during their tenure as a broadcasting duo. At that time, I was a casual follower of the NFL, flipping in and out of games, not really watching any in their entirety, outside of the Super Bowl. Being from Canada, other sports were higher on my pecking order. I didn’t get the John Madden experience from television.

I got it from the video games.

The Madden NFL games had an influence on my life, just like they did on millions of others. Please allow me to share some of my memories with you.

Madden 2003 was the first one I played. It was for the Gameboy Advance. As soon as you reached the main menu, “Party Hard” by Andrew W.K. would be blaring out of the speakers. I was hooked.

I never even asked myself, or anyone, “Who is this guy with the booming voice and why is the game named after him? Why is he standing next to the “Start” button?”

It just felt natural that this man would be there. Almost as if he was a God-like presence, who would oversee our ventures into the world football. There was nothing to question.

My favourite play in that game was HB Sweep because that allowed me to get outside and away from the tacklers. If the ball was on the left hash mark, I ran it to the right. If the ball was on the right hash mark, I ran it to the left. That way, I had extra field space to work with.

I was subconsciously learning about strategy and angles.

And then Madden NFL 2004 came out in the summer of 2003. I had the PC version. That was the most fun I had ever had playing a video game. The game was incredible and so, too, was the soundtrack. I loved it back then and I still love it today.

It takes me right back to my 12-year-old self and those summer days sitting at my desk, with a breeze coming through the window, playing Madden NFL 2004. I can picture all of it like it was yesterday.

Don’t worry, I played outside a lot that summer, too. But I’ll always cherish those memories of playing Madden. It was a special.

Fast-forward to Madden NFL 06. There was a new game mode – to me, at least – called Franchise Mode, where you got to control a team. And I mean really control it. You were, essentially, the owner.

You could relocate the team, build a new stadium, adjust ticket prices, overcharge for hotdogs…the limit did not exist. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was the coolest thing. I even remember calling my mom over and saying, “Look, I can set prices for the concession stand!”

I don’t think she cared.

That was probably one of the first times in my life when I really started seeing sports as a business. I mean, looking past all the flashy advertisements on display at games, and really seeing it. This video game put my mind into a different realm. I was 15-years-old.

And I have always liked to think that this was a seed, or a turning point, or foreshadowing – whatever you want to call it – for me eventually ending up at university, studying Sport Management. I had been a sports fan my whole life, but who knew you could go to school and study sports?

Those Madden games did a lot for me. Hours upon hours of fun. Also, hours upon hours of education.

John Madden taught me football. Simple as that. He gets the credit.

Whenever I see an NFL coach mismanage the clock, or not call a timeout when they should have, I think to myself, “They need to play more Madden.” The game is a teaching tool.

There is a misconception with video games that children are just mindlessly staring at a screen for hours. But I promise you, if they are playing Madden, they are learning something, even if they don’t realize it in the moment.

They are learning terminology, they are learning the role of each player on the field, they are learning strategy, they are learning rules, they are learning math vis-a-vie clock and scoreboard management.

The game is “Mario Teaches Typing” for football. You are educated and entertained at the same time. What else would expect from a game named, “Madden”?

I grew up with it. I doubt the memories will ever fade.

Anyway, thank you for listening to me go on and on about the Madden video games and their impact on my life. I think that’s the beauty of John Madden, though. He did so many things that touched people in so many ways, that every article you read today, tomorrow, and forever, will touch upon something different.

Put it all together and you realize that John Madden made millions of people happy. What an incredible legacy to leave.

Madden is the NFL and Madden is football.

No one will ever forget that.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

First Time Watching: Rocky

About fifteen years ago – maybe more – I received the Rocky Soundtrack CD for Christmas. That CD was always paired best with winter weather and homework. I loved it.

A few days ago, I put it in my 20-year-old stereo, listened to it from start to finish, and then pressed the eject button. It didn’t come out. Instead, I was met with a loud hissing noise, as if I had just awoken an evil spirit, who didn’t want to let the CD out of its grasp.

It’s been almost a week and the CD is still trapped inside. I tried prying it loose by shoving things like a business card and a ruler inside the slot, but it won’t come out.

I can play it; I just can’t ever see it again.

So, I took that as a sign that it’s probably time to watch the movies. It is time to understand the full Rocky spectrum.

And maybe when I get finished with all (most) of them, the evil spirit inside my stereo will be satisfied with my progress, accept it as an offering, and return my CD in peace, as well as one piece. That’s how this ends, right?

God, I’ve been watching too many shows with supernatural elements.

This is my viewing experience of Rocky (1976). I haven’t looked up anything about the movie.

Before Watching

I had an idea of what I was getting into.

There would be boxing, an underdog story, Philadelphia, running up steps, Rocky Balboa, and Apollo Creed,

Just about everything else would be brand new.

In A Nutshell

Rocky Balboa is a 30-year-old amateur boxer training at a local gym. His life isn’t really going anywhere and he is doing just enough to get by. His best friend is, Paulie. His girlfriend by the end of the movie is Paulie’s sister, Adrian.

The Heavyweight Champion, Apollo Creed, has a fight in Philadelphia and wants to face a local, unranked boxer after his initial opponent pulls out with a broken hand.

Enter, The Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa, who will receive $150,000 for the fight.

Creed’s ego gets in the way and he doesn’t take Rocky seriously. Creed thinks it’ll be over in three rounds, but the fight goes the distance.

The First 40 Minutes

The movie was very patient in its build-up, to the point where I felt like they knew they were getting a sequel before they even filmed a minute of this one.

Most of the scenes in the first 40 minutes felt like deleted scenes you would find on the DVD edition later. They were “nothing scenes”, but those are the types of scenes I like. The slower ones that subtly reveal a character’s lifestyle.

The scenes of Rocky just walking down the street, past a bunch of guys huddled around a burning garbage can. What I took away from that is Rocky is a bit of a loner. He’d rather say a quick, “hello”, and keep going.

There was also a line later where he says, “To you it’s Thanksgiving, but to me, it’s Thursday.” Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness and gratitude. Rocky didn’t have anyone with whom he could be together.

And we saw that same “loner” behaviour in other parts of the movie. Every time he walked into the boxing gym, he wasn’t stopping to interact with other boxers. Not a lot of wasted time chit-chatting.

When he got the fight with Apollo Creed, he didn’t want a manager. He didn’t want a trainer. He thought he was going to do it all by himself because that’s who he has had to be. He’s a loner, Dottie. A rebel.

Another scene I liked for no other reason than the fact that it was such a movie cliché, was when Rocky was walking on the sidewalk and a restaurant worker came out to take out the trash.

I feel like we don’t get scenes like that anymore – yeah, yeah, I’ll beat you to the punchline: “says the guy who doesn’t watch movies.”

Finally, the scenes of Rocky visiting the pet shop where his love interest, Adrian, worked showed that he was interested in companionship and not content with being alone forever. He went by that pet shop every morning and every evening, just to talk to Adrian, even if she didn’t say much (anything) in return.

That’s the kind of thing you do when you like someone. You conveniently keep popping up.

“Oh, I was just passing by.” No one is ever, “just passing by”.

Sylvester Stallone’s Boxing Skills

Look, what do I know about boxing? Not much. They punch, they protect their face, they don’t like southpaws, they put vaseline on their face, and they want big money fights with Jake Paul.

The opening sequence of the movie is Rocky’s latest fight. I thought Stallone looked like a real boxer. If I wanted to be critical, I’d say some of the punches could’ve been a bit more snug for the camera. One of his knockout punches hit the middle rope, even though his opponent acted like he was hit in the head.

But that didn’t bother me at all. I was just watching too closely.

All in all, I didn’t feel like I was watching an actor pretend to be a boxer. I’m sure Stallone took more than a few boxing lessons before filming and it showed.

Again, I don’t know proper technique. I’m a writer, not a fighter. Stallone was convincing. I’d love to hear a critique from people in the boxing world, though. They have the eye for it; they’d know what to look for. Maybe that exists somewhere on the internet.

Paulie’s Outbursts

Rocky and Paulie have a very…rocky friendship. Basically, Paulie gets mad, Rocky takes it, and then they’re good again. I think it came down to Paulie being jealous of Rocky’s success and he felt like he was being left behind.

Paulie felt like, “He’s dating my sister, I let him train at the meat packing facility, and I set him up an interview on TV for him, what do I get out of this?” Rocky pacifies Paulie’s jealous by agreeing to let him advertise “Shamrock Meats” on the back of the robe he wears to the ring.

Oh yeah, there was the scene where Paulie wanted his sister, Adrian, to go out with Rocky, even though she was using Thanksgiving dinner as an excuse. So, he threw the turkey into the alley, which I didn’t consider to be that egregious because I’m not a turkey person (unless it’s in a bagel).

There was also the scene where Paulie gets mad at Rocky and swings a baseball bat at everything inside his own house. What a way to really stick it to someone, huh? Break your own things. That’ll show ’em!

Paulie did seem to find some peace near the end of the movie, so maybe that will continue.

The Creed Fight

I really liked how the fight was shot. They let the viewer watch fight sequences, without implementing a bunch of camera cuts to disguise the viciousness of the punches.

You could even see the fictional television crew in the audience moving around with a camera. At first, I thought it was a mistake and the film crew was accidentally in the shot. But no. The footage cut to that camera and the movie made it feel like a broadcast angle, rather than a movie angle. That was a nice touch.

I don’t really have much to say about Apollo Creed. He took Rocky lightly, which is, honestly, understandable. Here he is, the best boxer in the world, facing off against an unranked nobody with a nickname that rhymes. How was he supposed to know that Rocky’s face could take every punch thrown at it?

At the end of the fight, they agreed to no rematch, but I feel like that just sets up a rematch. Don’t tell me, I’ll find out when I watch the next one.

Don’t Give Away Too Much

Again, I feel like they knew they were getting a sequel, if not multiple, before filming this movie. If you take a step back and think, what actually happened in this movie? It was a lot of character development and one big fight, that didn’t have much of an aftermath.

It felt like the purpose of this movie was to tease us into wanting more. This movie was merely the hors d’oeuvres. The whole meal is still to come. I actually like that.

This way, the story has room to build from movie to movie.

Rocky and Wrestling

Many aspects of professional wrestling can be connected back to Rocky. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Three things stood out. I think there was a fourth, but I can’t seem to remember it.

1. Rocky was introduced as, “Philadelphia’s favourite son”. I can’t remember who it was, but someone in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) or All Elite Wrestling (AEW) was recently introduced the same way, but with their hometown city, of course. It might’ve been MJF in Long Island.

I don’t know if Rocky was the first time anyone was introduced as “_____’s favourite son” but it was interesting to hear that phrase being used back in 1976.

2. The whole, “Champion faces local fighter” story is told quite often in wrestling. In behind-the-scenes wrestling lingo, the local fighter is known as a “local jobber” because their role is to show up and get beat.

The local jobber is normally a smaller wrestler who fans view as one of their own and an underdog. They don’t get any offence in and take their opponent’s most devastating maneuvers – sometimes multiple times – before being pinned. That maximizes the heat (hatred) the champion gets because not only did they pick on someone much smaller than them, but it was also a hometown hero.

3. Current NXT Superstar, Tony D’Angelo, is currently portraying an Italian mobster-type character. When not wrestling, he dresses the same way Rocky does. White shirt, jacket, fedora, dress shoes.

Now, maybe that’s “the look” (which it is) and he hasn’t used Rocky as an inspiration, but it’s the first thing I thought of when I was watching the movie. “Oh, Tony D. took his look from Rocky.”

Other Things

Rocky doesn’t have a phone because people call him and bother him. He has a point! Now, in all seriousness, I feel like the real reason he doesn’t have a phone is because he fell behind on payments, or maybe it broke and he couldn’t afford to get it fixed. Something money-related.

There was a scene where Rocky was walking through the streets at night and they were all wet. My mind immediately went to the production of The Bachelor. When they do the limo exits, they water the driveway because it looks better on camera.

I think that’s what they did in this scene. Is it possible that the road was wet because it rained? Yes. However, Rocky walked through a gate and neither the gate, nor the fence, seemed to be wet. Surely, they would be wet if it had rained.

So, I’m on to them!

I once made a video in my high school Communications Technology class with a group of others, where one member did a training montage that was inspired by Rocky’s training montage. That member cracked four eggs into a glass and attempted to drink them. I remember it not going very well, in addition to a messy kitchen counter.

They then followed it up by trying to do one handed push-ups. I can’t remember how those went. Probably painfully.

Anyway, the point being, how many people are out there drinking four raw eggs in the morning because they saw Rocky Balboa do it? I’m pretty sure that’s not recommended.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed the movie and look forward to where it goes next! I feel like this was a small taste of the entire Rocky experience, but I can already see why it’s so popular.

Thanks for reading!

You’ll hear from me again after I finish Rocky II.

Posted in TV & Film | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Captain’s Quiz 6: Our First Quizmas Together (RESULTS)

Welcome to our first Quizmas together. To kick off the proceedings, we have a special Quizmas Concert from our in-blog band, The Pauls. They will be performing a Quizmas medley.

Enjoy the show.

I don’t want a lot for Quizmas
There is just one thing I need
It’s the Captain’s Quiz crown
Currently held by T

I hear the blog bells jingling
Bonus points tingling too
It’s lovely weather for a quiz ride together
With 10 (10?), 10 of you

It was almost Quizmas time, there I sat at my desk again
Tryin’ to answer that last question or two
Not really in the Quizmas mood
Sitting somewhere around the world
Bill waiting anxiously
Pacing around like former last place finishers do
And in his hands he held a harmonica and played the blues

O come, all ye faithful
Come on and fizz, and welcome to the quiz
Come on and fizz, if you want to quiz
Hey you, watcha gonna go
Hey you, watcha gonna do
Hey you, watcha gonna do
Hey you, got a quiz to do
Blogger people in the blog let’s go
It’s your boy Cappy, aight so
Turn it in and watch me mark
Behind my back and in the dark
Whiz it, quiz it
Shake it, quake it
Space KABOOM

Just write those answers, write those answers
Calling all the Dashers and Dancers

Everybody get up, it’s time to Quiz now.

It is time to meet the reindeer who are vying to lead Santa’s sleigh tonight:

BEN: Meerkat Musings

T: No Love For Fatties
Defending Captain’s Quiz Champion and Keeper of the Crown

AARON: The Confusing Middle

MONTY: Monty’s Scribbles

BEX: BEXoxoBlog

VENUS: MidLife Cat Lady

BILL: A Silly Place

REBBIT7: The Finicky Cynic

RENATA: Buffalo Sauce Everywhere

CATHERINE: reflections of an unquiet mind

Scoring

You will receive a Standard Score of 1, 3, or 5 for each of The 10 Questions. Bonus Points will be given out as described under each question.

Paul: Total Points; Standard Score + Bonus Points

The 10 Questions

1. Santa Claus is on a health kick this holiday season. Instead of milk and cookies, what snacks would you leave out for him?
+2 if you leave him a drink
+2 if he can eat the food with his hands
+3 if you mention food for the reindeer

BEN: 12; 5 + 7
Carrots (also for the reindeer), celery, and orange juice, with low-fat mayo. Santa likes mayo.

T: 9: 5 + 4
Santa likes the yummy snacks (avocado brownies & dairy-free hot cocoa) with altered ingredients.

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
Ants on a log, huh? Celery, peanut butter, and raisins. Santa will eat, but may choke with nothing to wash it down.

MONTY: 10; 5 + 5
A bowl of apples, and carrots for the reindeer. Good start.

BEX: 12; 5 + 7
This was a full service Santa rest stop! What an assortment. I feel like he’d come back more than once and be like, “Oh, I was just in the neighbourhood again.”

VENUS: 12; 5 + 7
You thought of everything, even sugar cubes for the reindeer.

BILL: 7; 5 + 2
A turkey sandwich, you say? You better be careful because that might be me coming down the chimney to retrieve it. You just described my lunch yesterday, minus the mustard.

REBBIT7: 9; 5 + 4
You’d give him milk and cookies, but the healthy alternatives. I’m sure his eyes will light up.

RENATA: 7; 5 + 2
A note that says his body is great the way it is. Oh man, Santa is tearing up. AND he gets yogurt parfait.

CATHERINE: 9; 5 + 4
Oatmeal biscuits and soy milk. Hey, if he doesn’t finish the biscuits, I call dibs.

2. Picture your 8-year-old self. You are home alone during the holidays, when burglars try to break in to your house. What do you do?
+1 for each booby trap you set
+5 if you call the police

+5 if you hide/leave the house

BEN: 15; 5 + 10
Your cowardice as an 8-year-old has worked in your favour. Good job, little Ben.

T: 18; 5 + 13
I counted 13 traps you set! I like how “calling the police” never even crossed your mind.

AARON: 15; 5 + 10
Very smart answer, especially the whole “Home Alone wouldn’t have come out yet”.

MONTY: 10; 5 + 5
You were so close to calling the cops, but decided to just hide instead. Hope this doesn’t keep you up tonight.

BEX: 10; 5 + 5
Like a good neighbour, that woman would’ve been there for you!

VENUS: 15; 5 + 10
You would hide/leave the house and then call the cops. The logical choice.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
I’m picturing calm, little Bill slowly opening the window and then screaming for help.

REBBIT7: 19; 5 + 14
Kevin McCallister-esque traps, hiding, and a call to the cops. You nailed this question.

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
You would’ve written a story about the burglars, or filmed them discreetly. I think this is my favourite answer. It’s the pureness of an 8-year-old.

CATHERINE: 9; 5 + 4
Yup, you’re going full-blown Home Alone. “I would not be afraid.”

3. Have you ever bought a gift for someone else that you wanted to keep for yourself? If so, what was it?
+2 if you kept it for yourself

BEN: 3; 3 + 0
It’s a shame nothing came to mind, but I appreciate the honesty.

T: 3; 3 + 0
Same fate as Ben. Buying two of the same item and keeping one is smart, but does not unlock the hidden points.

AARON: 3; 3 + 0
I’m starting to think I’m the only one who has kept gifts before.

MONTY: 5; 5 + 0
Finally! A construction set for your son. I guess you technically kept it, but you gave it to him first so the judges declare 0 bonus points.

BEX: 5; 5 + 0
I have never thought of subscription boxes as a gift, but that is brilliant.

VENUS: 7; 5 + 2
Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for. You got your friend a stuffed bear, but kept it for yourself. Good.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
Oh no, you (accidentally) got your wife a present she didn’t want. I’m not married and I know this is bad.

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
You should’ve kept that Hello Kitty alarm clock.

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
I was worried you weren’t going to give an answer, but you got there with leggings and sweaters.

CATHERINE: 5; 5 + 0
A watch that you gave your husband.

4. Which would you rather build: a snowman or a snow fort? Explain your decision.
+2 if you said snow fort (I flipped a coin, it landed on tails, which is what I assigned to snow fort)

BEN: 5; 5 + 0
Snowman. I see you’re including carrots in every answer; I like it.

T: 5; 5 + 0
Snowman. You like accessories and don’t like sitting in snow forts.

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
Snow fort. I like how all snow fort builders fear that someone will invade. Spy holes were a must.

MONTY: 7; 5 + 2
Snow fort. If a snow fort had tunnels it was basically a mansion.

BEX: 7; 5 + 2
Snow fort. Your lavish snow fort sounds like the next big trend.

VENUS: 5; 5 + 0
Snowman. Ha, “Frost House The Snow Fort”. I chuckled.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
Snowman. At least you’re honest about your fort construction skills. I would’ve lied.

REBBIT7: 7; 5 + 2
Snow fort, with plans to include a chandelier, a snow fireplace, and a snowman inside. Hope they don’t bump their head and/or melt!

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
Snowperson. Ahh you mentioned hot chocolate but, fortunately, that’s a different question.

CATHERINE: 5; 5 + 0
Snowman. A nice Luxembourgish snowman.

5. It is your job to remind others to drive safely in treacherous winter conditions. Write a Public Service Announcement that will play on the radio this winter.
+2 if the PSA had humour

BEN: 5; 5 + 0
I mean, have you done this before? That was very informative and helpful.

T: 7; 5 + 2
Granny with the gravy boat in the front seat is incredible. Everyone, go read this PSA.

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
Clearly, the key to unlocking the bonus points for this question is to include grandma in the PSA.

MONTY: 5; 5 + 0
I’d laugh, but I don’t know if this can be characterized as humour for all.

BEX: 7; 5 + 2
POOR HANK! This was wonderful.

VENUS: 5; 5 + 0
Nice touch ending it with, “This has been a Public Service Announcement.”

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
Oh, you suck up, you. The CP24 shoutout is amazing and will be unappreciated by about 90% of the readers.

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
I made the argument that the use of the word, “Speedo” put this PSA into the humour category, but the judges disagreed.

RENATA: 7; 5 + 2
Between the “Ho, ho, hold up” and “Rudolph can’t help drive your minivan”, there was enough there to qualify as humour.

CATHERINE: 7; 5 +2
I like that your rhymed “jolly” and “golly”.

6. There is a holiday party at your workplace and everyone must bring in one dish of food to share. What are you bringing?
+2 if you don’t like potlucks
+2 if you bring a main course dish

BEN: 5; 5 + 0
Mini carrot cakes. I feel like I need to reward your “carrots for every answer” theme.

T: 3; 3 + 0
3 points instead of 5 because you gave two dishes instead of one. I did enjoy reading how to make cheesecake and chip dip, though.

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
Macaroni and cheese; grandmother’s recipe. Thank you for brining a main course, no one ever does.

MONTY: 5; 5 + 0
You’re bringing a pie. Fun fact about me: I don’t like pie, except the apple pies from McDonald’s.

BEX: 3; 3 + 0
You serving 30 frozen deviled eggs at work feels like a storyline that would be in The Office.

VENUS: 5; 5 + 0
Spinach dip – can never have too many dips available.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
These chocolate brownies seem to have more chocolate than other chocolate brownies.

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
Chocolate peppermint thumbprint cookies. Say that five times fast. I can’t.

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
You would bring your mom’s cookies. 13 types of cookies is impressive.

CATHERINE: 3; 3 + 0
Your famous tomato/mozzarella salad and chocolate chip cookies. I hate that I have to apply The Bex Rule that calls for “one or the other”, but the judges leave me no choice.

7. Someone got you a hippopotamus for Christmas because you insisted, “only a Hippopotamus will do”. How did they give it to you?
+2 if there is a bow on the hippo

BEN: 3; 3 + 0
You are declining the gift, but not before using carrots to lure the hippo into the garden.

T: 5; 5 + 0
I can tell you’ve dreamed of this before and I hope one day someone buys a plot of land for your pet hippo.

AARON: 5; 5 + 0
I love the level of detail you put into this. I almost feel bad that all I was looking for was, “they put a bow on it”.

MONTY: 5; 5 + 0
They got you hippo jerky. Interesting.

BEX: 5; 5 + 0
“HELLO, MY NAME IS HIPPO” on a sheet of paper. I love it.

VENUS: 5; 5 + 0
He’s in an exhibit at the zoo. Well, this just seems too logical.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
It’ll be delivered by a hippopotamus-carrying vehicle. I know what you mean, but my mind went straight to “motor home”. Imagine.

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
They rode the hippo into the party and the hippo was wearing jewellery. A royal hippo! This is the closest we’ve come to having a bow on the hippo.

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
They brought it through the front door because that’s the easy thing to do. Hear that, people? You don’t have to tear down your chimney to fit a hippo inside your house. This has been a PSA.

CATHERINE: 5; 5 + 0
A card stuck in the wrapping paper is so close to being a bow. We struck out, as a team, on this one, friends.

8. What advice would you give someone who isn’t good at wrapping presents?
+2 if you say to put the gift in a bag

BEN: 5; 5 + 0
Ah, so close to unlocking the bonus points. Wrapping carrots for practice is unique.

T: 7; 5 + 2
Ding ding ding! Use a gift bag!

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
Gift bags! Ka-ching.

MONTY: 7; 5 + 2
Gift bags and colourful tissue paper. You’re right, colour is a good distraction.

BEX: 7; 5 + 2
Bag it and tag it. I like the idea of putting a gift card in a jar of candy and making the person dig for it.

VENUS: 5; 5 + 0
Useful directions.

BILL: 5; 5 + 0
Get someone else to do it! Bill, you are a genius among reindeer.

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
You said measurements aren’t as important as estimates. I was thinking the exact opposite yesterday when my estimate was wrong. But I’ll listen to you.

RENATA: 5; 5 + 0
You sound like a gift wrapping professional. I am jealous, but will not admit it.

CATHERINE: 5; 5 + 0
“Do your best”. That is so kind.

9. In the movie, Home Alone 2, Kevin McCallister says, “Be sure to bundle up if you go outside. It’s a little nippy.” How do you stay warm when it’s cold?
+2 if you don’t mention hot chocolate

BEN: 7; 5 + 2
You opted for many layers and coffee or tea. Points!

T: 7; 5 + 2
You also opted for many layers and no hot chocolate. Sorel boots – what a classic.

AARON: 7; 5 + 2
“Not a fan of hot beverages.” You understood the assignment and shall be rewarded. Go forth and human burrito.

MONTY: 7; 5 + 2
At least three layers, with wool being one of them.

BEX: 7; 5 + 2
No mention of hot chocolate. You’re all acing this one.

VENUS: 7; 5 + 2
We’re keeping the “no mention of hot chocolate” streak alive!

BILL: 7; 5 + 2
Long underwear is definitely the key. I discovered it a few years ago and don’t know how I ever did without.

REBBIT7: 7; 5 + 2
Blast the heater! This is a hot chocolate free Quizmas, it seems.

RENATA: 7; 5 + 2
A giant blanket and coffee or tea. We’re looking at a clean sweep for the “no mention of hot chocolate”. Can we do it?

CATHERINE: 7; 5 + 2
Many layers, gloves, scarf, and hat. No one mentioned hot chocolate and I’m am flummoxed, in a good way.

10. Are you a Dasher or a Dancer? Why?
+2 if I correctly guess your answer

BEN: 5; 5 + 0
I guessed Dasher. You said Dancer! I should’ve known.

T: 7; 5 + 2
I guessed Dancer. You said Dancer!

AARON: 5; 5 + 0
I guessed Dancer. You said Dasher, but not before going through a reindeer identity crisis. I felt that.

MONTY: 7; 5 + 2
I guessed Dasher. You said Dasher!

BEX: 3; 3 + 0
I guessed Dasher. You said Dasher when sober, Dancer when inebriated, but admit you are not a Dancer. We’re going to have to go to the judges on this one. They say it has to be one or the other; this is hereby know as The Bex Rule.

VENUS: 3; 3 + 0
I guessed Dancer. You said I can call you both – Dashancer. I like the idea, but The Bex Rule has been enforced.

BILL: 7; 5 + 2
I guessed Dasher. You said Dasher!

REBBIT7: 5; 5 + 0
I guessed Dancer. You said Dasher. I failed you, I’m sorry.

RENATA: 7; 5 + 2
I guessed Dancer. You said Dancer!

CATHERINE: 7; 5 + 2
I guessed Dancer. You said Dancer!

Bonus Questions

1. Santa is about to put you on the naughty list this year. Convince him he’s making a mistake and that you were a good person in 2021.
+2 for every good thing you did this year
+15 if you’re honest and say you deserve to be on the naughty list; you must commit to only this answer to be awarded the points

BEN: 4
You listed two things before opting for carrot juice and a nap. I applaud your commitment to relaxation.

T: 2
Having love and patience for students who throw chairs at you is nice list worthy.

AARON: 6
You deserve the nice list, in my books.

MONTY: 15
You committed to the naughty list.

BEX: 6
You really put Santa in his place.

VENUS: 10
I think you were convincing.

BILL: 6
Okay, you made the nice list.

REBBIT7: 6
That was a very nice memo to Santa. You kept it professional.

RENATA: 10
You navigated that perfectly. Started out with a “heart to heart” feel and ended with a subtle bribe that was a callback to the first question. Santa noticed.

CATHERINE: 6
Santa agrees. Your name on the naughty list was an error. The elf responsible has been fired. No, I’m kidding. He’s employed, for now.

2. There have been allegations that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was bullied by his fellow reindeer. The North Pole calls you in to give the reindeer a stern talking-to. What do you say?
+2 for each thing you say to them
+10 if you do team building activities

BEN: 4
Separating them individually was smart. Offering only Rudolph a carrot so the others understand what being excluded feels like is either brilliant, or will lead to a riot.

T: 10
I felt like I was back in school. That was excellent. “Vixen, I SAID SIT DOWN!” killed me.

AARON: 3
I like your angle. Address the captain and hope they set the example. Smart.

MONTY: 4
That tough love was tough.

BEX: 10
Wow. The Roast of Santa’s Reindeer. I never knew I needed that in my life.

VENUS: 6
Threatening the cancellation of Reindeer Games – hey, it had to be done.

BILL: 6
Rudolph’s red nose is such an asset to the team; I hope they realize that.

REBBIT7: 10
Cut off the carrot privileges for the rest of the year! The change in tone from the last question to this one was brilliant. I immediately started laughing.

RENATA: 10
I’m fascinated by the differences in approach from all of you, yet most of you feel the need to threaten the reindeer at the end. I feel like we all need to have a talk after this.

CATHERINE: 12
Another speech ended with a threat. You are all ruthless! They’re just reindeer. I love it, though.

3. On the television show, The OC, Seth Cohen created Chrismukkah as a way to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Meanwhile, on Seinfeld, George Costanza’s family celebrates Festivus – a secular and non-commercial holiday – on December 23. Create your own alternate winter holiday and tell me all about it. What’s it called? What are the traditions? Who can celebrate?
+1 for every detail
+5 if you give it a specific date
+10 if you mention food

BEN: 10
I don’t think you understood the question, and I’ll take some blame for that, but you did mention the things I was looking for. I gave you half points.

T: 14
Quiet Day on the 3rd Friday of January, Sign me up!

AARON: 12
Sleepday is December 28. Bring a pillow, everyone, and go to sleep. International House of Pancakes was a clever line.

MONTY: 21
The Day of Ones shall be on 11/11. It’s a day for introverts. Come out and celebrate but stay away from us.

BEX: 22
Hygge Day (pronounced hoo-ga) is on the last Friday in January, mark your calendars. It is meant to be a stress-free day as you take some time for yourself in whichever way you deem appropriate.

VENUS: 20
Window Look Out Day on the last Friday of January. We may have a scheduling conflict with Hygge Day, but we shall power through, for this is a door for looking out the window and admiring the beauty.

BILL: 7
Captain’s Quizmas Day shall be December 18 (or whenever Paul feels like it next year). The sucking up continues! I do already have the tagline for next year’s Quizmas.

REBBIT7: 18
Yule Soltice Day shall be December 22. Darn, we just missed it! It combines the folklore of the Yule with the magical Winter Solstice.

RENATA: 22
Rechargmen shall be the first Monday of January and is all about recharging after the holidays and eating Ramen. You gather with as few people as possible and get them something to help them through the rest of the winter.

CATHERINE: 24
Winter’s Night Festivities shall be on December 21. We gather around at night with good company, food, and music, and stay up until the sun rises. The next day is for sleeping.

Final Standings

Hidden Bonus Points are in parentheses. They are the tiebreaker.

1. MONTY: 108 (18)

2. REBBIT7: 106 (22)

3. VENUS: 105 (21)

4. BEX: 104 (20)

5. CATHERINE 104 (14)

6. RENATA: 100 (8)

7. T: 97 (25)

8. AARON: 91 (22)

9. BEN: 83 (19)

10. BILL: 75 (6)

PLEASE WELCOME THE WINNER AND NEWWW CAPTAIN’S QUIZ CHAMPION:

MONTY!!!

Do you believe in miracles??? It happened!! The upset heard around the world!

You did it, Monty! You are the reindeer who shall lead the sleigh tonight!

The crown now belongs to you!

Bill, I know you’re one request was to not finish last. Should we address the elephant in the room, or focus on the hippo in the chimney, instead? I’m sorry.

Congratulations to Rebbit7 and Venus for rounding out the podium! If Monty cannot fulfill his duties as Captain’s Quiz champion (and there are a lot of them), Rebbit7 will step in.

Honestly, this was a strong showing by all of you. Even you, Bill. I appreciate the effort you all put in to your answers. The creativity in this quiz was on a whole other level. It was my favourite one so far, for sure.

I hope you had as much fun as I did!

We’ll do this again soon. I hear there’s a New Year upon us. Hmm…

Until next time, stay ready.

Happy Holidays!

YOU DID IT, MONTY!

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First Time Watching: Love Actually

To be honest with you, I thought Love Actually came out a few years ago. It felt like a 2015 thing. Nope! It came out in 2003. I was shocked. Still am, actually.

The other night, I sat down and watched Love Actually for the first time. It was a wild experience. My brain had to upgrade its storage space because I learned so much.

Before Watching

I knew nothing about the movie, except for the fact that Andrew Lincoln was in it and he held up cue cards at some point. I knew that because I know him from The Walking Dead and I’ve seen the GIF about 89,703 times (give or take 89,600). More on that later.

I was curious to see if the film would address why there is no comma in the title, or if they’d use “love actually” in a sentence, so I could understand the context.

They did, in fact, use it in a sentence during the opening montage of people hugging at the airport.

“Love, actually, is all around.”

I guess I was expecting something more intricate. Like, Character A says to Character B, “What’s wrong? What are you feeling? Do you feel sick? Do you feel lethargic?” And Character B would be like, “No, I feel love, actually.”

Maybe they’ll use that in a sequel.

The pause screen on Netflix summed up the movie as follows:

“Love is all around – and so is heartbreak – as multiple couples navigate romance, family, weddings and airports at Christmastime.”

The pessimistic side of me thought, “Oh, great. I’m about to watch the theatrical version of my Instagram feed.” But it wasn’t, so that was nice.

Who’s Who?

To a normal person, the cast of Love Actually was a real who’s who of famous actors. To me, it was a who’s who? See the distinction?

I saw all the names of who was in the movie before I pressed play. I had heard of most of them and acknowledge that they are well-known.

However – and this is my achilles heel – I am terrible at matching an actor’s name with their person, unless it is someone I definitely know. I’ll show you what I mean.

Hugh Grant: I’ve heard the name, but had no idea what he looked like. I assumed he was an older gentleman and, in my head, cast him as the singer who kept singing, “Christmas is all around”. It turns out, Mr. Grant was the Prime Minister. Who knew? Not me.

I kept looking at the Prime Minister and felt like I should know who the actor was, but every time I tried to put my brain to use, I kept coming to the conclusion that he looked like former WWE writer, Brian Gewirtz (he now works for The Rock).

Look it up, tell me I’m wrong. I’m not. He looks more like Hugh Grant than Hugh Grant looks like Hugh Grant.

Liam Neeson: Again, had no idea what he looked like or who he played in the movie. Turns out, he was the stepdad of the boy who learned how to play drums just so a girl would notice him. And I can hear you from the other side of the screen, “Paul! How do you not know what Liam Neeson looks like?”

He could knock on my door tomorrow and say, “Hi, I’m Liam Neeson” and I’d still say, “Are you, though?

Keira Knightley: Again, I’ve heard of all of these actors, but to put a face – their 2003 face, no less – to the name, was impossible. I definitely thought she played the role of Natalie in the movie, but she didn’t. She was the wife of Andrew Lincoln’s best friend, who Andrew Lincoln held up the cue cards for because he loves her.

I told you, from my point-of-view, the viewing experience was wild.

It was a complete and utter, who’s who in the zoo.

Bill Nighy: I really don’t mean to offend these famous actors. I mean, do they know what I look like? No. So, we’re even. He played the singer, who turned well-known songs into Christmas songs by substituting the word “Christmas” into the lyrics.

I bet that character now runs a duct-cleaning scam

Emma Thompson: She played the role of Karen, otherwise known as Professor Snape’s Alan Rickman’s wife, who he betrayed when he bought fancy jewellery for not-his-wife aka his secretary. Again, knew the name. Not the person.

Billy Bob Thornton: He played the role of the U.S. President. Even as I look at pictures of him now, I still can’t match the person with the name. Are you sure, Google? Is that actually him?

Alan Rickman: I don’t remember what his character name was in the movie, but every time he popped up on screen, an alert went off in my head that said: “It’s Professor Snape!” That’s just the way it is, don’t question it.

I had an identity crisis on Alan Rickman’s behalf because I kept staring at his hair and wondering how it looked so different in the Harry Potter movies. These are the things I’m distracted by. I kept thinking he was going to punctuate his sentences by letting a, “Malfoyyyy” or “Slytherin” out, but to no avail. You could tell it was on the tip of his tongue, though.

Time out. It turns out his character’s name was, Harry. That had to be on purpose. Might as well of just named him, Severus, if they were going to be so intentional with it.

That way, he could just AirDrop his hissing pronunciation of the letter “s” into this role and send the crowd home happy.

Andrew Lincoln: I knew who he was – I said this at the start of the post. I will get into the cue cards thing later, as promised.

Laura Linney: Well if it isn’t Mrs. Ozark, herself! If you couldn’t tell from the fact that Snape hijacked my section about Alan Rickman, I have this habit where I see a character in one show and apply all of their character traits from their character in another show.

So, every time I saw her, all I could think about was how she had no idea that she’d become entangled in money laundering schemes in the future.

Rowan Atkinson: Mr. Bean!?!? I could not take him seriously. Just like I thought Rickman was going to slip into a Snape impression at any moment, I was waiting for Atkinson to do the same. I was waiting for him to make a face, or drop something. In the movie, he’s a jewellery salesman. It was a perfect opportunity to do something Bean-ish. He did not.

I’ll stop there and spare Colin Firth and the rest of the cast. You get the point. Outside of four people, I couldn’t match names with faces at all.

Plot

I’m not here to rehash the movie. I’m sure most of you have seen it before.

All I’ll say is, the movie started out five weeks before Christmas and jumped around to different love stories that evolve as the days pass. At first, none of the people seemed to be connected, but by the end of the film, it became abundantly clear that they were.

I thought it was cool how they did that. Everyone is caught up in their own little world, but are connected to someone else’s little world. It’s very six degrees of separation, but with scarves. That was a weather joke.

The plot layout also reinforced the theme of, “Love is all around you” which they beat to a pulp every chance they could.

Another thing I’ll say, before getting into specific moments in the movie, is that I liked how they didn’t force the Christmas theme on the viewer.

It was more like, “Yeah yeah, Christmas is coming and it’s what we’re counting down to, but pay attention to all of these people and their love stories”.

Christmas was the frame; the story was the picture within the frame.

Ohhh, They’re in the UK

I’m not normally the dullest bulb in the chandelier, but in this instance, I was completely burnt out.

There was a scene very early in the movie where the Prime Minister is dropped off at his residence – 10 Downing Street. See, I know stuff (thanks to Google).

Anyway, he was in the backseat. Before the car came to a complete stop, the driver got out of the car to open the back door for the Prime Minister.

I rewound this scene three times and analyzed it like the Zapruder film. How in the world did the car stop, if the driver got out before it did? Who’s pressing the brake pedal? Who’s putting it into park?

Then it hit me. Ohhh, they’re in the UK. That isn’t the driver. The driver is on the other side. The man who got out of the car was in the passenger seat.

There was a solid 90 seconds where I was convinced there was some sort of movie magic going on in this scene.

The Cue Cards

Okay, let’s get to them.

Andrew Lincoln’s character is in love with his best friend’s wife, Keira Knightley. Yes, I’m going by actor’s names because remembering character names is a whole other level of difficulty.

Lincoln was the photographer at their wedding and Knightley swings by to see if he has footage of her in her dress. Well, he does. Because he never stopped pointing the camera at her the entire night. She’s confused and doesn’t understand.

You could tell he wished he had taped over the VHS with an episode of, The Weakest Link, just to avoid the truth.

He’s in love with her, but had built a facade for so long that she thought he hated her. He claimed he was acting out of, “self-preservation”, which is a unique combination of sad and understandable.

Undersaddable? Sadderstandable?

We’ll work on it.

Anyway, Andy swings by their house one night with cue cards because he doesn’t want his best friend to hear that he’s professing his love for his wife. How fortunate that Keira was the one to answer the door.

He holds up a bunch of cue cards – the first one telling her to tell her husband that it’s just carollers. As he’s flipping through the cue cards, I’m realizing that I had created a false narrative in my head of what this scene was.

Of course, over the years, I’ve seen the GIF where he’s holding the card that says, “To me, you are perfect.” However, I thought he was holding these cards from a bedroom window a la Taylor Swift in the “You Belong With Me” music video.

For some reason, my mind had always assumed that this scene and that music video were somehow inspired by each other. There was a lot of columns toppling in my head because things I thought were true, weren’t even remotely so.

Yeah, so that’s what I wanted to talk about as it pertains to the cue cards.

Oh wait, then Keira ran out after Andrew and kissed him. And then ran back inside to her husband. As much as “love” was a theme in this movie, so was “infidelity”.

Jamie and Aurelia

Out of all the love stories this movie told, I thought this one was the most heartwarming.

Jamie is a writer who found out his girlfriend was cheating on him. Aurelia is his cleaning lady, who he drives home at the end of every day. She can’t speak English and he can’t speak Portuguese. They can’t have a conversation with each other in a common language and yet, they fall in love.

Insert a “they spoke the language of love” joke here. But seriously, I think when two people love each other, they can communicate on a different level where words aren’t necessary. They just “know”. I think that’s what the movie tried to demonstrate with this particular story.

Bill Nighy should’ve chimed in with his Christmas rendition of, “When You Say Nothing At All”, but he was asleep at the wheel, I guess. Why am I the only one with these golden ideas?

Aurelia moves back to Portugal and Jamie realizes he can’t live without her, so he tracks her down and proposes to her at the restaurant in which she works. However, the entire neighbourhood has gathered to witness such an occasion.

The phone lines were lit up that night with gossip, I can promise you that.

Oh – also…they had both been taking lessons to learn each other’s language.

And the crowd goes teary-eyed.

The Little Boy

Oh, elementary school crushes. This boy got it bad. The girl he likes is in the school band and he decides to join, despite not knowing how to play any instrument.

We can skip ahead a few at-home drum sessions later, to the part where his crush is leaving immediately after the school Christmas play to go back home to America. That’s how it always works in these movies, isn’t it?

They attend an event and then bam, right to the airport. It’s almost like she’s fleeing the country after a heist, except the only thing she stole was this little boy’s heart.

Anyway, he evades airport security thanks, in part, to a distraction from Mr. Bean. I’m still not entirely sure what happened there. Did Mr. Bean know what he was doing?

This airport chase scene felt like an homage to Home Alone 2. I’m sure TSA probably reached out to Hollywood after this movie said something along the lines of, “Stop making airport security look bad”.

At the end of the day, the boy got a kiss on the cheek. Based on his reaction, he probably didn’t wash his face for an entire week afterwards. And he probably slept with his other cheek on the pillow, too, just to “preserve it”. I got those vibes from him.

Rated R

I saw the R rating when I pressed play and thought it was a bit strange for a Christmas movie. Very quickly, it became abundantly clear that this wasn’t your regular wholesome, family Christmas movie.

It was a far cry from Tom Arnold being a creepy neighbour in the PG, Jingle All The Way.

My immediate reaction to realizing how far this movie was going to push the envelope was, “Thank God I’m not a teacher because I probably would’ve played this movie at school without watching it first.”

The Fat Jokes

Were they even jokes? I don’t know why referencing Natalie’s weight at, seemingly, every turn was necessary. Why was it in the script at all? It was a never-ending running gag that got more and more uncomfortable each time.

I don’t really want to hear the, “it was a different time” argument. It was 2003. They didn’t know they were unnecessarily adding a body shaming component to their movie?

It was as meaningful to the plot as saying the Prime Minister’s favourite slippers were blue. They didn’t say that, of course, being it didn’t matter.

Other Things

I watched the movie with subtitles on and noticed the word, “actually” was used many times. I don’t know if that was intentional, given the title, or if it was just a regular amount, but I felt like I should mention it.

I’ve been listening to the song, “Jump” by The Pointer Sisters ever since I heard it in the film. I need help.

I wonder how people from Wisconsin felt about how their state was portrayed.

Conclusion

I really liked the movie. I enjoyed it.

Yes, there are problematic elements to it. I didn’t even get into the whole gender roles thing and how the men dominated the dialogue, decisions, and direction of the entire movie.

I felt like I learned a lot, for better or worse.

What are your thoughts on Love Actually?

Is there a Christmas movie you think I should watch? Let me know!

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The Captain’s Quiz 6: Our First Quizmas Together

Well, hello ho ho there! Welcome to a special holiday edition of The Captain’s Quiz!

I am Paul and I ask the questions you never thought you’d be asked. You are you and you answer the questions you never thought you’d be asked.

Need I say more?

No. I need not.

This is the final quiz of the year. Take your mittens off if you must. Don’t hold back.

RULES

  • To participate, answer the questions below in a blog post of your own and link it back to this post so I see it.

  • There are no right or wrong answers; there are only answers. Feel free to provide as many, or as few details as you want, at your own peril.

  • You will receive a score of 13, or 5 points for your response to the 10 Questions. Your answers may unlock hidden bonus points, so answer wisely. 

  • There are 3 Bonus Questions. The scoring for them will be kept a secret until the final results are posted.

  • You have until Noon on Thursday, December 23 to participate. The results will be posted next Friday.

THE 10 QUESTIONS

1. Santa Claus is on a health kick this holiday season. Instead of milk and cookies, what snacks would you leave out for him?

2. Picture your 8-year-old self. You are home alone during the holidays, when burglars try to break in to your house. What do you do?

3. Have you ever bought a gift for someone else that you wanted to keep for yourself? If so, what was it?

4. Which would you rather build: a snowman or a snow fort? Explain your decision.

5. It is your job to remind others to drive safely in treacherous winter conditions. Write a Public Service Announcement that will play on the radio this winter.

6. There is a holiday party at your workplace and everyone must bring in one dish of food to share. What are you bringing?

7. Someone got you a hippopotamus for Christmas because you insisted, “only a Hippopotamus will do”. How did they give it to you?

8. What advice would you give someone who isn’t good at wrapping presents?

9. In the movie, Home Alone, Kevin McCallister says, “Be sure to bundle up if you go outside. It’s a little nippy.” How do you stay warm when it’s cold?

10. Are you a Dasher or a Dancer? Why?

BONUS QUESTIONS

1. Santa is about to put you on the naughty list this year. Convince him he’s making a mistake and that you were a good person in 2021.

2. There have been allegations that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was bullied by his fellow reindeer. The North Pole calls you in to give the reindeer a stern talking-to. What do you say?

3. On the television show, The OC, Seth Cohen created Chrismukkah as a way to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Meanwhile, on Seinfeld, George Costanza’s family celebrates Festivus – a secular and non-commercial holiday – on December 23. Create your own alternate winter holiday and tell me all about it. What’s it called? What are the traditions? Who can celebrate?

Answers are due by Festivus – next Thursday, December 23 at Noon! Results will be posted on Christmas Eve.

Good luck!

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