The McBournie Minute: History That Happened in the Past (1990-1999)

For the U.S. the 1990s was a time of relative peace. To borrow from Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was a time of oral sex in executive buildings and clear colas. It was a time of grunge and it was a time of Hanson. It was a time of the wild west Internet and it was a time of Y2K fears.

History looks back on the 1990s as yet another decade of self-indulgence. It marked for many the hastening of corporations to catch on to and exploit new trends with the youth, and it was also when gold rimmed glasses were in fashion (I should know). In comparison to the troubles found before and after it, the 1990s seem almost like a party–a party where you have to wear your pants baggy.

Grab your Tamagotchi and hit the jump. Continue reading The McBournie Minute: History That Happened in the Past (1990-1999)

Charles Dickens is a huge jerk

We know you’ve been wondering it since you were a child, and the results are in. The answer is no, Oliver Twist would not have needed more gruel, thus asking for more would have been unlikely. Thus, he never would have been kicked out of his orphanage and set on an adventure filled with thieves and murderers eventually coming out on top and being reunited with relatives.

Take that, Dickens!

Just in time for Christmas, scientists figured out that recipes of gruel that have been lying around since the first have of the 1800s actually provided good nutritional value and had a pretty decent serving size. You may know Dickens’ work from his attempt to rob a famous magician of his stage name with his book David Copperfield.

Until recently, Dickens was regarded by historians as the creator of the modern Christmas. As recently as a few years ago, he was given credit for instilling the spirit of giving to others and creating the Victorian version of Christmas that spread throughout the Western world. Today, we know his Christmas books, A Christmas Carol in particular, were nothing more than communist propaganda.

Think about it, an old rich business owner against a worker who demands health benefits and paid vacation. Much less the fact that a welfare state must be created to support Tiny Tim, or the ghosts of Christmas, which are obviously Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Lenin.

MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

It seems as though everyone has their favorite version of A Christmas Carol. Many like the classic 1951 Scrooge starring Alastair Sim as the title character (which we reviewed last week). Others prefer George C. Scott in the 1984 made-for-television version. There are those that enjoy the updated Bill Murray version, Scrooged (which we’ll get to next week). Some people actually like the 2004 made-for musical version starring Kelsey Grammar (just like Pop Rocks blowing up Mikey’s stomach, I think it, too, is an urban legend). For my mom, and like a number of others as well, there’s no substitute for the 1992 feature film version done by Brian Henson and his crowd, aptly titled The Muppet Christmas Carol. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Scrooge (1951)’

When it comes to favorite Christmas tales on the screen, there are probably two. There’s no confusion about the first, because there is only one It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, Frank Capra’s classic is so expertly wrought that no one has even attempted a big screen remake. The second is a little more problematic, because there have been many worthy takes on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Case in point, we’re actually going to take a look at a few of them this month. In 1984, George C. Scott humbugged to memorable effect in a made-for-TV adaptation. Albert Finney sang and danced his way through the title role of 1970’s Scrooge. Even Mr. Magoo, the Muppets, Blackadder, Captain Picard and Mickey Mouse have taken their shots (with varying degrees of success). But widely believed to be the best-loved and most-remembered version of A Christmas Carol has to be the 1951 edition of Scrooge, with the inimitable Alastair Sim as London’s cruelest miser.

Sim, a veteran of British stage and screen, started his motion picture career in the mid-’30s and ended it in the early-’70s. In between, he appeared in over fifty films, but the role that has given him true immortality is that of Scrooge. Sim is not just one of many actors to play the part — for everyone who has seen the crisply-made black-and-white production, he is the definitive Scrooge. Everyone else, from George C. Scott to Bill Murray, is an impostor. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Scrooge (1951)’

They also charge for b’day usage

For the employees of a meat packing plant in England, it is the worst of times, but certainly not the best of times.

A local labor union is saying that Brown Brothers is forcing employees to clock out when they make trips to the bathroom, a practice the union calls “Dickensian.” This is seen as an affront to the common worker, who proudly gets paid for his or her 20 minutes on the can a little after lunch. How else can one catch up on the news?

Perhaps even more Dickensian of Brown Brothers is that it automatically fires anyone who asks for more gruel.