As I'm sure you're aware, unless you are Ethiopian and celebrate Christmas in January**, that Christmas day is less than a fortnight a way. This meant that this morning, at sunday school, it was a Christmas-themed party. It went really well; all the children were well behaved and had fun. The children had hot chocolate, a sweet and these little balls of pastry with sugar on (I can't remember what they're called - we don't have them in England), and played 'Put the baby Jesus in the manger' (AKA pin the tail on the donkey). It also meant that I went to the carol service this evening. There's nothing better than a good ol' traditional carol service. I think one of the reasons I enjoyed it, ignoring the traditionalist in me and my penchant for counterpoint, is that is was a service, despite all of the peripheral baggage associated with Christmas, focussed entirely on God. Indeed, it was more focussed on God than most services. There were ample bible readings, and the songs sang weren't all about "I'm going to do this" or "I feel this" or "I believe this", as I find most current songs to be about, but about God.
Another thing that Christmas has inevitably led to is shopping. Which I did at two o'clock this morning as I couldn't sleep. This cold of mine has destroyed my sleep pattern, as well as (only temporarily I hope) rendered me partially deaf, so, added to ample supplies of coca cola last night chez Leanne - Sally and I went round for dinner - I was wide awake for much of the night. But one of the books I looked at, but didn't buy since I couldn't think of anyone who wanted it but myself (hint, hint), was about how illogical our choices are.*** One of the examples it gave is what to do at the cinema if the film you're watching is really bad. Do you stay to the end, or do you walk out? The logical answer is to cut your losses and walk out, wasting just your money, instead of staying and therefore wasting your money and your time. This got me to thinking as to whether I have or would ever leave a cinema. There are two occasions where I was seriously tempted to leave the cinema. The reason I didn't wasn't because of an irrational idea that the film might suddenly improve in the last five minutes and make the hour and a half of abject misery worthwhile, but because I went with people who, for reasons unkown to mankind, enjoyed the films. So I stayed so not to cause any conflict (talk about being a martyr!). I can safely say that I would, if the film was sufficiently bad, walk out of a cinema. The worst film I've ever watched was actually You, Me and Dupree, a veritable smorgasbord of humourless scenarios, although several French 'classics' come close. L'Atalante anybody? It was also in the same week that I watched probably my favourite film, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So if you haven't watched it before, here's the trailer.
I also watched Casablanca recently (hence this entry's title), which was surprisingly enjoyable, despite its plot resting on the ridiculous premise that an escaped prisoner of war could meander freely around Nazi-occupied French Morocco. I bet the Moroccans didn't have any say about being occupied by France, or Germany.
Well, that's all folks!
* A group of monkeys can be called a troop, barrel, carload, cartload or tribe. Blame Juliana Berners for the bizarre collective names for animals.
** The answer to the question posed by the Band Aid song, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?', raising money for the 1984-1985 Ethopian Famine, is therefore 'no'.
*** It would, for example, be logical, for me to know the name of the book which I subtly suggest I might like for Christmas.