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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December 1, 2000

Welcome to the very first day of December 2015!  And while we're at it, welcome to the very first entry of THE POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR!

I'm very excited to be bringing you Day #1 in the annual tradition since 2012.  And this year, I've decided to bake some cookies in celebration of the event.

(Well, okay...I didn't bake these.  You don't want to see me bake anything.)

It also happens to be the Tuesday Timeline portion of the week.  In this entry, as well as all future entries this month, I'm going to try and make each day holiday themed.  I'll admit that finding a topic for December 1 was a real challenge.  I had to get a little bit creative with my research skills, let's put it that way.

In the end, I think I came up with an appropriate topic that fits the Tuesday Timeline criteria.

But before we do that, let's look at the events that I did NOT choose.

1420 - Henry V enters Paris

1834 - Slavery is abolished in the Cape Colony

1865 - Raleigh, North Carolina becomes the setting of the first historically black university to be established - Shaw University

1885 - The soft drink "Dr. Pepper" is first served at a drug store in Waco, Texas

1913 - Actress Mary Martin is born in Weatherford, Texas

1918 - Transylvania unites with the Kingdom of Romania

1923 - Comedian Dick Shawn (d. 1987) is born in Buffalo, New York

1933 - Singer/actor Lou Rawls (d. 2006) is born in Chicago, Illinois

1940 - Actor Richard Pryor (d. 2005) is born in Peoria, Illinois

1941 - Emperor Hirohito of Japan gives his final approval to initiate war against the United States - The bombing of Pearl Harbor takes place just six days later

1952 - The New York Daily News issues an article about Christine Jorgensen - the first person known to have gender reassignment surgery

1955 - Rosa Parks is arrested after she refuses to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus

1958 - Ninety-two children and three nuns perish when a fire breaks out in Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago

1960 - Paul McCartney and Pete Best are arrested and later deported from Germany after being accused of attempted arson

1969 - The first draft lottery is held in the United States for the first time since World War II

1971 - John Lennon releases "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"

1974 - Ninety-two people are killed when TWA Flight 514 crashes northwest of Dulles International Airport

1989 - Famed choreographer Alvin Ailey passes away at the age of 58

2001 - The final flight for TWA lands in St. Louis, Missouri - the company was bought out by American Airlines earlier in the year

And a very happy birthday goes out to the following famous faces; Woody Allen, Chuck Low, Lee Trevino, Eric Bloom, John Densmore, Bette Midler, Jonathan Katz, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Elizabeth Baur, Richard Keith, Obba Babatunde, Treat Williams, Bob Goen, Candace Bushnell, Lisa Fischer, Charlene Tilton, Carol Alt, Jeremy Northam, Sylvie Daigle, Nathalie Lambert, Andrew Adamson, Katherine LaNasa, Nestor Carbonell, Reggie Sanders, Justin Chadwick, Golden Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Emily Mortimer, Laura Ling, Akiva Schaffer, Nate Torrance, Janelle Monae, Vance Joy, Zoe Kravitz, Chanel Iman, and Jackson Nicoll.

So, what date are we going back in time to this week to kick off this special month of holiday goodness?

Well, how about 15 years back in time to, oh...December 1, 2000?

I have to say that when it comes to the Christmas season, there is one thing that I absolutely look forward to.  And believe it or not, it's something that seems to garner a lot of mixed emotions.  Some absolutely love it.  Others absolutely hate it.  And depending on where you are in the world, you can either get none at all, or way more than you really need.

I am, of course, talking about Christmas snow!

As far as I am concerned, there is no better way to put me in the holiday spirit than by having a liberal dusting of the white stuff on the ground on Christmas Day.  If I have a green Christmas, it'll still be a lot of fun, but not nearly as much fun as a white Christmas would be.

Last year, we had a Christmas thunderstorm.  Yeah, that's real Christmasy.  I was worried that poor Vixen and Cupid would be electrocuted with the nasty weather we had here in Canada.

But thinking back to December 2000, it certainly was a white Christmas.  At the time, I lived in Ottawa and we seemed to have one blizzard right after the other that year.  And you know what?  It was fantastic!  I love Christmas snow!

Of course, growing up in Canada, the chances of having a white Christmas are greater here than in places as say...Florida or Hawaii.  Even a city like Los Angeles rarely sees any snow during the holiday season.  The last time Los Angeles saw a hint of snowfall was in January 2007.

So, imagine if a Canadian style blizzard happened to fall over Los Angeles.  On the minus side, the city would completely shut down.  On the plus side, it could be the first step in curing the California drought.

Well, back on December 1, 2000, the Disney Channel attempted to answer this question when they released a movie about two precocious girls who somehow find a weather machine and use it to make snow fall over Los Angeles...and having to deal with the consequences of their actions.

The movie is "The Ultimate Christmas Present", and it starred Hallee Hirsh and Brenda Song as Allie Thompson and Sam Kwan. 

Now, granted, the movie is a Disney Channel creation, so you might expect it to have a "High School Musical", "Twitches", or "Camp Rock" feel to it.  But surprisingly, it still seems to hold up some fifteen years later - even if the premise of the story seems farfetched.

Basically the gist is that Allie and Sam come across a cabin in the woods, and they discover that inside the cabin there is a device that seemingly controls the weather.  The girls could make it rainy, snowy, windy, sunny...whatever floated their boats.

They test the machine out by making it snow in Los Angeles.  After all, they have never seen a white Christmas before, and they figure that this was the only way to make it happen.  And to their shock, the machine actually works.  Soon, Los Angeles is blanketed under a layer of white snow.

So who does the weather machine belong to?  Apparently it belongs to Santa Claus, who happened to accidentally leave the machine behind.  He sets out on a mission to get it back, and sends a couple of elves, Crumpet (John Salley) and Sparky (Bill Fagerbakke) to retrieve it.

At the same time, a meteorologist named Edwin Hadley (Peter Scolari) is noticing the strange weather patterns that seem to be occurring in California, and he makes it his mission to try and discover what the cause it.  Unfortunately, he is motivated by purely selfish means, as the reason he wants to do the story is to keep from getting fired.

So, as the movie progresses, the blizzard spreads, and soon most of California is under a winter storm watch.  This includes the city of San Francisco, where Allie's dad is currently staying.  Because of the bad weather, Allie's dad is unable to make it back home for Christmas which makes Allie sad.  Allie and Sam try to turn off the machine, but it just turns itself back on again.  It seems as though the only person who can shut the machine off is Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.

And frankly, he may not be very jolly when he finds Allie and Sam.  After all, Allie's fiddling with the machine has now put her on the naughty list!

So what happens?  Can Allie and Sam stop the weather machine?  Will Edwin do some dastardly things to get his hands on the device?  Can Santa and his elves put things back to normal?

Well...I don't want to spoil anything in case you haven't seen the movie yet...but given that it's a Disney Christmas movie, I'm guessing it has a happy ending.  I would hope so anyway.

So, yes...that was the first of many holiday themed entries.  Stay tuned!  This advent calendar has just begun!

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