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December 01, 1989 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-01
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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19 W., qw

Tag, you're broke: 'Tis the season to be guilty

Today, we're going to solve the
basic question of human morality,
namely:
"What am I supposed to do, huh?
What, Goddamnit? WHAT???"
You're going to ask yourself this
question a lot over the next month
or so, because it's the holiday sea-
son, which is when charity rears its
ugly head.
Well, OK; it's not an ugly head.
It's actually the very cute head of a
little boy holding a Big Bird doll and
looking at you with eyes the size of
billiard balls, as if to say, "That's all
right, kind soul. I'm sure that dollar
would be better spent buying you a
bag of french fries than saving my
life. And God bless us all, every
one."
At least that's what the head of
charity looks like on the Galens Tag
posters. Today is the beginning of
the Galens Tag drive, a charity
which benefits children's hospitals.
The drive gets its name from the
large, brightly-colored tags given to
donors; in exchange for a small do-
nation and the willingness to look
like a walking garage sale item,
they'll kindly leave you alone for
two whole days. In fact, if they gave
out gorilla suits or bright red clown

noses instead of tags, people would
still wear them. Because, face it,
we're terrified of charity.
Mind you, I think charities and
the people that run them are wonder-
ful, and I'm sure I'll buy myself out
of several dollars' worth of guilt this
holiday season, just like you - oh,
sorry, I forgot; you're doing it for
the sheer pleasure of knowing that
your money is adding a little bit of
sunshine to someone's life - I
meant, just like all those other peo-
ple.
But look. You or I could, right
now, get up, empty our pockets,
close our bank accounts, sell our
possessions, and give every last cent
to charity. But we don't.
We could also spit in the Salva-
tion Army bucket and say "Pfah!
You foolish do-gooders won't get a
cent out of me! And I want those or-
phans out of the building by tomor-
row! MAH hah hah hah hah!" But
we don't do that, either.
What we do is have, over and
over again, the following internal di-
alogue:
"No change in my pocket.
Should I leave? But then Big Bird
will die, right? Should I get out my
wallet? They'll see how much

SPO JIM
N1
,OZK
money I'm keeping. How much?
What about the muscular dystrophy
people? The heart association peo-
ple? Which is worse, MS or AIDS?
Do I write a check? Charge it? Kill
the old pawnbroker lady downstairs
with an ax and donate her money? I
don't know! I DON'T KNOW!"
So what do we need? Well, for
starters, we need an efficient way to
get rid of Dick Vitale and make it
look like an accident. But more im-
portantly, we need a system for fig-
uring out just how much we're obli-
gated to donate to a given charity.
That's why I've developed the Phi-
lanthro-Matic Equation - guaran-
teed to plant you squarely between
St. Francis of Assisi and Snidely
Whiplash:
-Start by taking your weekly in-
come and dividing it by one hundred.
-Your weekly income before
taxes, you cheap bastard.
-Add 50 for every time you've
had coffee at Cafe Existential on

State Street within the past week.
-If you use "lunch" as a verb, add
25¢.
-Cuteness Factor: Add 10 for ev-
ery Neilsen rating point ABC would
get if it brought back Webster, re-
placing Emmanuel Lewis with the
child or animal pictured on the char-
ity's posters.
-Subtract 2¢ for every time you
actually obeyed a "Don't Walk" sign
in the past month.
-If you're wearing anything tie-
dyed, add 15¢.
-Add 10¢ for each time you've
seen It's a Wonderful Life so far this
year. Subtract 5¢ for each time
you've seen the colorized version.
-If the person holding the bucket
is wearing anything tie-dyed, sub-
tract 25g.
-If you use your nine-digit ZIP
code regularly, subtract 10g.
-If you have your own parking
space, add 25¢.
-Salvation Army only: if they
agree to just stop ringing that damn
bell for a few minutes, add $2.
-If Sally Struthers has ever done a
television commercial endorsing the
charity, subtract 25¢.
-If you're going to law or medical
school, add 500.

-If the charity's fund raising pro-
gram in any way involves people
playing small musical instruments
in public, subtract 35¢.
-Add 2¢ for each of the Dow
Jones 30 Industrials you can name
from memory.
-If you've done something really,
really nice for somebody else within
the past 24 hours, subtract 50¢.
-That doesn't count.
-If your socks match your
sweater, add 50.
-Subtract 5g for each actor you
can name from the original cast of
Bewitched.
-If you prefer crunchy to creamy,
subtract 20¢.
-If you use the phrase "from
Hell" regularly, add 50¢.
-If you're a full-time college stu-
dent, subtract one dollar.
-Ha! Just kidding! Put the dollar
back in, cheeseball.
-If you've just written a column
providing people a fast, efficient way
to figure out their charity obligation,
you ve already done more than your
share. Subtract the entire amount. In
fact, hell, grab a handful of change
from the bucket. 01

Prancer is
By Brent Edwards
"One Christmas was so much
like another... All the Christmases
roll down toward the two-tongued
sea, like a cold and headlong moon
bundling down the sky that was our
street; and they stop at the rim of the
ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I
plunge my hands in the snow and
bring out whatever I can find."
These lines from "A Child's
Christmas In Wales," by Dylan
Thomas, describe an adult's attempt
at summoning childhood recollec-
tions of Christmas, a time of year
that can seem mystical and magical
when viewed through a young per-
son's eyes. As one grows older, that

Christmas
sense of mystery is lost and soon
forgotten. The reality of everyday
life becomes the adult's focus - the
wonder is gone.
It is because of this more mature
realistic perspective that Prancer, a
remarkably unremarkable movie,
takes on significance for the older
viewer.
Eight-year-old Jessica is our win-
dow to the world of childhood. Hav-
ing recently lost her mother, she dis-
covers that her broken father is send-
ing her to live with her aunt, a terri-
fying prospect for the little girl. Her
problems are quickly forgotten,

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All Dogs has more
bark then bite

nostalgia

however, when she discovers a
wounded animal that she believes is
Prancer, one of. Santa's eight rein-
deer. Her belief in Prancer, although
he has done nothing to prove he is
magical, revitalizes the local town's
spirit and causes mean-spirited peo-
ple to turn good-hearted.
Jessica's trust in Santa and
Prancer is a realization of the inno-
cent naivete and trust of children.
Her feelings are close-rooted to her
belief in God, and if Santa doesn't
exist then neither does the heaven in
which she's told her mother rests.
This blind faith and determination
recalls those of our own. How often
did we leave a plate of cookies and a
glass of milk in a convenient spot,
with the confidence that Santa would
rest his feet on the coffee table and
replenish his energy during a long
hard night's work? Her faith in the
reindeer as Prancer mimics our own
childhood belief in the Christmas
season as a fantastic time of year
when anything can happen.
Prancer is not a great movie by
any means, probably not even a
good one, but you may find yourself
remembering things from when you
were half your height that you
haven't thought or felt in a long
time. This may be the one, though
unintentional, asset Prancer has to
offer.

Jessica believes this wounded rei

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Seventy-five Years ago... December 1, 1914
"According to a statement made by President Harry B. Hutchins
yesterday, the senate council will meet in special session... to decide the
matter of lengthening the Christmas vacation...
"This action follows... a resolution... which calls the attention of the
authorities to the general desire on the part of the student body for a longer
vacation this winter."
Thirty-six Years ago... December 1, 1953
"Calling it a 'step in the right direction,' Prof. Albert Hyma of the
history department yesterday praised the State Supreme Court ruling
permitting him to sue a Detroit spiritualist over bad financial advice.
"According to the history professor, the medium had conducted seances in
which the advice of various 'spirits' caused him to turn down a $2,700 offer
for stock in a company that later went bankrupt, spend $4,200 for a fruitless
oil venture, and mortgage his Ann Arbor home for $8,500 to ransom a
political prisoner in a Mexican jail who would then turn over to him a
considerable fortune."
Twelve Years ago... December 1, 1977
"I am in complete disagreement with your editorial of November 15,
which advocated the release of the Watergate tapes. The release of the tapes
would be nothing more than an act of vengeance against former President
Nixon.
"...Must we label Richard Nixon 'criminal' for the rest of his life?!"
(from a letter to the editor)
Items in the Weekend Almanac are culled from past issues of the Daily on
this date in history. All articles are taken from Daily files which are open
to public perusal in the Daily's library.

OFF I.l
In case of emergency, break glass &
jump.
-Graduate Library study carrel, 5th
floor.
El Salvador is Spanish for Vietnam
(In response)
Zapato is Spanish for shoe.
- Mason Hall
Have you ever been laid? Why?
(In response)
1) I loved her
2) Virginity can be burdensome
3) Beer-goggled
4) She forced me
'''.
Have you ever loved a woman so
much you tremble in pain and all the
time you know, yes you know, she
belongs to your very best friend?
What did you do about it?
(In response)
I wrote Layla

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By Mike Kuniavsky
In 1979, at the height of his ca-
reer, Don Bluth left Walt Disney
Studios to form his own company.
He had a definite goal in mind: to
create animation "the old fashioned
way," the way that Disney had aban-
doned in favor of more commercial,
less creative ventures. Since many of
his fellow coworkers felt much like
he did, they left with him. Their
company, now called Sullivan Bluth
Ltd., has produced such feature-
length cartoons as An American
Tail and Secret of NIMH.
Unfortunately, their latest prod-
uct, All Dogs Go To Heaven, shows
that maybe "the old fashioned way"
is running out of steam. Because of
their simultaneous releases, we can
compare Dogs to Disney's latest,
The Little Mermaid- and we see
that Dogs falls pretty flat, the
"renegades" producing the less inter-
esting piece compared to the "old
timers."
The plot is a traditional one. In
1939 New Orleans, Charles B.
Barkin (the voice of Burt Reynolds)
and his sidekick Itchy (voiced by
Dom De Luise, veteran of both
Bluth's cartoons and Reynolds'
schlock) escape from The Pound,
where Charlie's been sentenced to
death for something he did not do.
They race back to their old haunt,
Charlie's bar, where they discover
that their old friend and partner, Car-
face (Vic Tayback), has made a for-
tune fixing "The Rat Race" every
evening.
Carface double-crosses Charlie
and kills him by running a car off
the bridge Charlie's standing on.
Charlie's soul rises to heaven where
he meets the Heavenly Whippet
(Melba Moore) and decides that he

needs to go back to avenge his own
killing. Charlie steals the pocket
watch which holds his soul and re-
turns to earth for vengeance. On
earth, his vengeance is interrupted
when he finds out that Carface has
been fixing the Rat Race using
Anne-Marie (Judith Barsi), a kid-
napped orphan who can speak to an-
imals. Charlie and Itchy re-kidnap
her, and the fun begins.'
While technically stunning, the
film really fails on the personality
count: there aren't any. None of the
characters are very interesting, and
the film completely lacks any of the
hipness that has made the Disney
films of late interesting to watch.
Reynolds' own personality,
whatever there is of it, is lost in trite
dialogue and campy musical se-
quences. The potential interaction
between him and De Luise - so
inappropriately cartoonish in their
other films together - could have
been interesting, but is completely
ignored.
Yet another problem is the fact
that the world Bluth chose to set his
film in is underutilized: here it is on
the brink of WWII, smack in the
middle of Roosevelt's New Deal, and
what do we see? Generic garbage
dumps, looking like the "Fat Albert"
show of ten years ago. It's a shame
to see what could be a very interest-
ing place for talking dogs to explore
turned into a mere backdrop.
Of course the film isn't all bad.
The "Rat Race" sequence in the be-
ginning would make a great short,
but in general, the film's "old fash-
ioned" attitude just drags it down
like an anchor, here in the age of
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rad
Boy, and Bon Jovi. Oh yeah, and the
songs suck, too.

1

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Christmastime
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ intrigue abound

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Page 8 Weekend/December 1,1989

Weekend/December 1, 1989

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