This and That:Masterchef Junior Returns and Other Things

1. Here we go again:We just finished season two of Masterchef Junior but season three is scheduled to debut on 6 Jan 2015 at 8:00 p.m.  It will be the last time Joe Bastianich (aka The Stare) will be a judge on Masterchef. You can see a list of the contestants (but no photos as of this date) at

Red Cardinal Pointsetta Wreath Photo: Kim Newberg (
Red Cardinal Pointsetta Wreath
Photo: Kim Newberg (

2. The Christmas Season is still going (it officially ends on Epiphany Day/Three Kings Day) The traditional date is January 6 though many Christian churches celebrate the day on the first Sunday after the New Year. The night before is called the Twelfth Night. Eastern Orthodox celebrates Christmas Day usually on 7 January as they follow the Julian calendar. Greek Orthodox though celebrates Christmas on December 25 as they use the Gregorian not Julian for many important holy days except Easter in which they use the old Julian calendar.

3. The Shipping Season seemed to have fewer problems than last year. Last year there was a huge dump of parcels for Post Office and the private package carriers. This was due, in part, to cut off days for online retailers not in sync with the shipping services. Of course problems still occur (a package I was waiting for went missing for a day at the local UPS station). And unfortunately thieves watch delivery vehicles and steal packages left at the door or on the porch. They finally busted a gang in our area and found many missing parcels. I read or saw on person so fed up with losing packages to these thieves he wrapped up some very smelly dog poo and had it left on his door. Sure enough, it was stolen! Fitting that when the opened the box they found it full of animal waste.

4. Once again the top animated Christmas shows were the favorites: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (celebrating 50 years), Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

5. One of the worst Christmas themed made for television movies was Merry Ex-Mas(2014) on Ion starring Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson. The premise is actually simple. Dean Cain owned a security company and was married to Kristy Swanson. A photo appears in the press that appears to show him making out with a well known music star. He denies it but his wife divorces him. So usually a Christmas show of this kind is how the magic of Christmas heals the rift and get them back together. Had that been the story, it would have been great. But something bad happened somewhere between when the plot was conceived and the actual scriptwriting began. The result was a runaway train that took a simple plot and smashed it all up. His ex-wife shows up at the cabin where Cain is at. His sort of girlfriend is also there. Racing to get there is her fiancee played by Lochlyn Munro. Munro has made a career out of playing characters on the edge or worse. Munro’s character is facing deportation (his foreign visa is about to expire) and he cannot conduct an important business deal unless he stays. So he is racing up there with the couples daughter, the mother to Swanson’s character (Dean Cain’s mom) and his attorney. His attorney, played by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Nash Bridges), is the one bright light in this zany and utterly forgettable movie. She is absolutely hilarious in her role as Munro’s attorney. And she gets some of the best lines as well. And at the end (SPOILER ALERT) when Swanson’s character decides not to marry him but Cain again, he is left with no one to marry except her mother. And she negotiates a settlement that O’Keefe’s character is happy to put in the prenuptial agreement. It is the only reason to watch this hapless Christmas movie.

6. If you subscribe to Netflix streaming, say goodbye to Titanic. The popular Cameron movie is leaving in the New Year. You can still get it on DVD. And until they can actually make streaming like DVD, that part of the service is going to remain strong. Today watching some Christmas movies via streaming was a total bust. Something wrong with the service. On the other hand just grab a dvd, pop it in, and your good to go.

7. Mewing cats doing Jingle Bells? A bad idea. The original barking dogs (from the 1950’s!) is still tops in that regard.

8. I am all for eating and drinking less but one low-fat eggnog (Horizon organic) was really pasty in flavor. It may be lower in calories and more healthy but trust me, it was awful.

Well that is it for now. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!