Why The Littlest Angel is the worst holiday story… ever

The First Cover for the "classic"When The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell was published in 1946 it was a holiday phenomenon. This “classic” story has since been published numerous times (with many different illustrated versions); made into movies (cartoon, musical, and live action); and in the list of best-selling children stories of all time (!) it comes up in the top 20. 

Heck, even holiday crooner Bing Crosby sang a song based on the plot of it! 

I remember the first time I heard this story. It was at catechism. and the teacher read it to us as if she was bestowing a great holiday gift on us children. I can still see her smile. While the other kids casually sat near me with crossed legs, I remember really being bothered by the story. I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but that reaction to the tale has never gone away for me. And that day, I raised my hand for I had some questions.

My hand is still up in the air.

The fact is, after thinking about it far too much, and being haunted by it like Marley’s ghost each year, I can’t escape my problems with this narrative. I have come to the opinion that this Christmas traditional yarn is… just awful. Horrendous. Possibly the worst holiday story. Oh, God, it is just bad.

Okay, it takes a lot for a story to be a worst holiday yarn than the appalling song “The Christmas Shoes” (which for those lucky not to know is the materialistic and disturbing ditty about an ignorant child who leaves his dying mother’s bedside to go shopping, assuming that the shoes he puts on her feet will go with her soul to heaven and there impress Jesus), but The Littlest Angel does it. It does it ten times over.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie, snuggle in by the fireplace, and let me tell you why… Continue reading

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Dante, Tigers, & Tap-Dancing Demons, Oh My! Listen to THE DANTE EXPERIENCE

The Dante ExperienceDan Brown in his latest book, Inferno, thinks he knows Dante’s Divine Comedy.

I. THINK. NOT.

Inspired by Douglas Adams’ The Hithchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and Monty Python, the entire award-winning unpredictable and bizarre radio comedy series The Dante Experience is available to listen to online via soundcloud. All freaking 10 episodes! If you don’t know this work of mine, you are in for a treat. Listen below!

Produced and directed by Mind’s Ear Audio Productions, The Dante Experience follows a badly-managed attempt to instill a fear of the afterlife in the next generation of man. Robert and his friends were definitely the wrong young adults to choose for the tour, as his girlfriend dumps him for Mephistopheles the devil, his friend Susan forms an army with Julius Caesar to argue for the deads’ rights, and Steve seduces famous women throughout history. The afterlife is never going to be the same.

I hope you enjoy listening to my comedy series!

Halloween, In Spirit

I don’t believe in magic.

I also don’t believe in witches, ghosts, wizards, dragons, unicorns, demons, devils, poltergeists, vampires, werewolves and anything else that might go bump in the night.

And, for those curious, I don’t believe in angels either.

None of these things exist (or could exist) in the world I see around me every day. And if any of these things really were real, there is no way it would be a secret to all of us. If there is one great truth about human beings, from the North Pole to the South, it is that we are all lousy at keeping a secret. Remember, even Deep Throat said who he was before he died, and that was a secret kept by only three people!

Frankly, we would all know about Hogwarts.

I wish I could see a ghost.

Why?

Because I would find the experience incredibly satisfying. Continue reading

Upon The Ground: Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk

Today is the penultimate short story from my collection Upon The Ground, which is being shared online via www.greenspotblue.com. Today’s story is entitled “Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk.” Take from it what you will.

Here is the beginning of this little strange tale:

“Under The Angelic Glow Of Dusk”

“The Time has been catching us off guard,” she said to me and I, still reeling from the wind and the parties, only laughed at her notion and called her mind a good hangover waiting to happen.

She did not like my comments (typical) and shunned me for the first two days of our assignment. This probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much if we weren’t supposed to be wife and husband in this little life moment. On Friday, I got sick of her little games and in a dark corner in a dark moment after breakfast (which consisted of coffee or tea (decaffeinated), corn flakes (dry), and milk (cold).) I confronted her about the so-called importance of our assignment.

As she angrily argued back at me her wings rustled under her silly white dress. She hated me.

I laughed at that and reminded her small mind that she wasn’t capable of hate. Her and her little angels and their white hair and white eyes and white gleaming teeth never hate- Even those easy to. She then said it may not be hate but it was the closest she had felt to it. I had to laugh at her honesty, even though just the sound of her voice annoyed me.

She then stated that she was very sure she hated the sound of my laughter (it is a dark loud, booming laugh that echoes with screams of those inside) and then went and compared it to angry bells banging against the side of her ears. All the noises of lost times.

You can read the rest of the story here. You can also catch up on the previous stories from Upon The Ground via the links on this page. Thank you for reading!

Notes From THE HONEYMOON, What Would Have Been the Last Part of The Dante 3

While creating the scripts for Time Out Of Mind, the proposed sequel to The Dante Experience, I began to take notes and scribble ideas for the third and final part, which had the working title of The Honeymoon.

I always knew I wanted the series to be a trilogy. Where I saw the first part being the afterlife and the second being time, I wanted the third to be a little more personal, and less large scale.  For some reason I became fascinated by the idea of putting as many of my characters as I could on a boat in the middle of the ocean… and seeing what happens.

After sending Time Out Of Mind to Mind’s Ear and realizing it was not going to happen, my notes and scenes for The Honeymoon became… well… history. Continue reading

Episode Ten: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 10 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Gettysburg”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven

MICHAEL: Hazzah, your stellarness! I have good news for you. The communication link has been set up and I can get our team to fight the dragons!

REPAIR ANGEL: I said, I would fix it… All you had to do was wait.

MICHAEL: Not now! I’m talking to the big guy…Anyway, your infiniteness, I’m about to make contact with our team. Jenkins, can you hear me? Hello?

Scene 2

SOUND: Of Beach.

MICHAEL: Jenkins.

JENKINS: Oh, great, it’s Angel Michael.

ALL: (Sigh) Continue reading

Episode Eight: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 8 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Dinner With the Folks”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of heaven and a computer typing.

MICHAEL: Ok, I have some bad news…

SOUND: Of computer stops typing.

MICHAEL: I’ve been searching for three hours now and I can’t find our group of heroes. Ever since Adam threw that rock and hit the time machine, our team has been lost in time… They could be anywhere.

KELLII: Can we play another game now?

REPAIR ANGEL: I have Stratego.

KELLII: Yeah, get that one. Anything better than Monopoly. Monopoly just doesn’t work for two people.

MICHAEL: Can you two please leave?

KELLII: I want to wait and see what happens next?

MICHAEL: What happens next? I’ll tell you what happens next! Your father shows up and kicks my…

REPAIR ANGEL: Hey, let’s watch the language.

KELLII: So he is a little protective.

MICHAEL: He threatened me for just taking you on a date!

KELLII: See, protective.

REPAIR ANGEL: Wait until he sees the website you created. Continue reading

Episode Six: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 6 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

 “The Hunt”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

REPAIR ANGEL: Here is your problem right here. Look at all the memory you have used on your computer. No wonder it’s bombed.

MICHAEL: Oh, hi your great holiness. I didn’t know you were listening in. The computer repair angel here is just trying to get the computer up and running again.

REPAIR ANGEL: What are all these pictures?

MICHAEL: Oh, nothing! Just delete that!

REPAIR ANGEL: Who is she?

MICHAEL: Nothing, nothing… Anyway…

REPAIR ANGEL: She certainly is flexible whoever she is… Continue reading

Episode Four: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 4 of

Time Out Of Mind,

the sequel to

The Dante Experience

“Michael Has a Date”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven

MICHAEL: (Flying in) Hello, hello. Sir. I received your page. What’s going on is something wrong? What is that you have there?

SOUND: Paper rustling.

MICHAEL: For me? Ok, let me just read this note and… Ok, you really didn’t need the swear words! All you had to do was ask? I’ll tell you what is going on? No problem. I’ll just boot up the system here and as I do, I will tell you…

SOUND: Computer booting up.

MICHAEL: Ok, there we go… In the year 3020, genetic engineers on earth have developed the capability to create dragons. And these creatures, as I’ve been told by those damn future watchers, were used to for sport at amusement parks. See, mankind has always had a fascination with dragons- from bad movies to bad… well, frankly a lot of bad things, probably one of the reasons that the dragons are upset right there. Anyway, these futuristic dragons would be created, raised for a week then killed for sport by a knight… Now where the problem took place is that they kept recreating the same dragons! You see what I am getting at?… No? Ok, well, these dragons hate being brought to life and being killed over and over again, so one of the smart ones, Smaug is his name, decided to seek revenge. So him and his fellow dragons broke out of the lab early and stole a time traveling device in the hope of destroying mankind in the past where he doesn’t have the tools to fight back… Of course what they don’t realize is if they destroy man in the past, they will be erased from existence…

SOUND: Of computer beeping.

MICHAEL: And if they go back too far, maybe wipe all of us out of existence… Not you, of course, but for us it is sticky situation.  Right now, the only people that can save the day are the group from the Dante Experience since they were given the weapon from the knight. And, as luck would have it, they have already killed one of the five in revolutionary Paris and…

KELLII: (chewing gum) What is this place? What is that smell? It smells like incense. Continue reading

My April 2012 Update

What was that thing T. S. Elliot said about April… Okay, it is on the tip of my tongue. Oh, I’m sure I will get it sooner or later.

All I can say, is I am glad there is no reference to cats in the Wasteland. It’s still mind-blowing to me that the guy who wrote Wasteland also created the poems that inspired years of dancers dressed like cats spinning on a stage to Andrew Lloyd Weber music… But I digress.

The article that won’t go away…

Back in March, I wrote a personal reflection inspired by the closing of my high school (here). I already wrote in detail about the reaction to the article in my March update (here). To sum up, I hit a nerve with a lot of people and it was huge for me. It went on to have over 1300 views, spurring a sequel article (I felt I had to react to the loss of the school in a more straightforward-here-is-my-opinion way), and numerous, numerous comments on my site. Continue reading