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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New WKAR Book Review: Mitch Albom’s The First Phone Call From Heaven

Current StateI am back on WKAR’s Current State today with a new book review! This time it is for the new novel by Mitch Albom, The First Phone Call From Heaven.

You can listen to my latest book review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-mitch-alboms-first-phone-call-heaven

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Mitch Albom’s book can be found on amazon here. If you would like to learn more about my book reviews or hear/read past installments you can do so via my site (here) or via this page on Current State’s official website.

I hope you enjoy the review! Continue reading

The 3 Mes: 22 Days Until 40

Number 3I’ve become very self-centered over the last few months.

Not in a “I’m going to be rude” kind of way. No, this is more like I get lost in thoughts, staring off into the distance. It’s like…

I’m sorry, I was someplace else right then. I’m back now.

A few posts ago, someone commented that I was going through a mid-life crisis. At the time, I brushed it off. Me? No!

I didn’t have any of the signs we all know from television and movies! But… now…  I think this might be my version of it. An exclusive and unique mid-life crisis. Sounds like something I would do. And to get through this stage in my life, I thought it might be “fun” to document my thoughts and feelings. Capture this moment. As a writer, you never know what will lead to inspiration and right now all of my focus seems to be on this, this shift. It is new, it is different, and it won’t happen again.

Okay…. Oddly, at this time (22 days off from life’s halfway mark) I feel splintered, broken into three different versions of myself.

There is the present me, the future me, and the past me. And I can see them in the mirror, they haunt me. When I get dressed in the morning, I sometimes wonder which one I am dressing like, which one I am going to be that day. This may all seem very dramatic to some, but I am a writer. It comes with the territory, drama is in the DNA. One of the great truths for all three of the mes. Continue reading

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!

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 Seven: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 7 of

Time Out Of Mind,

The Sequel to

The Dante Experience

“In the Garden of Eden”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

MICHAEL: The trick is not to panic.

REPAIR ANGEL: You’ve been saying that for twenty minutes.

MICHAEL: Just remember that, your great glorious one. Remember that. Here you might need this brown paper bag. I find breathing into it can be soothing. Are you ready? The three remaining dragons have arrived in the Garden of Eden and they have found Adam and Eve.

REPAIR ANGEL: This is exciting stuff! 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 Five: Time Out Of Mind

Episode 5 of

Time Out Of Mind,

the sequel to

The Dante Experience

“A Night at the Theater”

OPENING CREDITS

Scene 1

SOUND: Of Heaven.

MICHAEL: Hello, your holiness, I have returned. I’m sorry about all that and my date. I’m so red. I mean, if angels could blush I would be red, not red like a devil or anything. Red just doesn’t work for me. Tried dressing up as a devil once for Halloween. I had this little tail and pitchfork and I was poking people with it and you probably don’t want to hear about that. Anyway, I brought some paradise cleaner that should help the mess and… Ok, I’ll just put it here.

SOUND: Putting cleaning supplies down.

MICHAEL: Ok, let me boot up my computer and the surveillance equipment and the video players and see what I have missed. Let’s see… Well, at least some good news since we know that one of the dragons is in Camelot. Of course, you can’t help but wonder what the other dragons have gone and what they are planning and… Do you wonder things like that? I mean… Nevermind. So the group is in the right spot. The group, now including Benjamin Franklin, are in the court of King Arthur. Our team of General Joseph, Jenkins and Dante are… Hmmm… Oh, here they are.

SOUND: Computer Beep.

MICHAEL: They have escaped France after having their heads chopped off and have been transported by the Angel Transportation League to a small village near Camelot. Continue reading