Friday, December 20, 2002

Holidaze Review: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

One day last week while surfing the Web...er, I mean, while hard at work, I ran across a scan of the ad you see at the left and forwarded it to a coworker who has a vast appreciation for bad cinema. His response? "What the fuck? Is this something from the '70s?"

He didn't know. He had no awareness of The Star Wars Holiday Special. His life was blessed.

I took it upon myself to put an end to his innocence (in this regard, at least) and explained to him "what the fuck" The Star Wars Holiday Special was.

Imagine, if you will, being an impressionable, semi-sentient youth at holiday time circa 1978. You've seen the original "Star Wars" at least once, if not several times, on the big screen. You've read the comic books and fan magazines. And if you don't own most of the toys, you've at least played with the ones the neighbor kid has. So when you hear that CBS is to run a two-hour-long all-new adventure featuring all of the main characters from "Star Wars" (except for Obi-Wan Kenobi because he's, y'know, like cut in half and seriously dead and stuff), you're thrilled to pieces. And the Friday beofre Thanksgiving at eight o'clock, you curl up in front of the 13" Sankyo (not Sanyo, but Sankyo) color TV and wait for the magic to unfold.

Two hours later, you find yourself feeling sad, depressed, even a little violated. Such is the "magic" of The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Obviously, I wasn't the only one who had that reaction. The Star Wars Holiday Special only ran that one time, on November 17, 1978, and then vanished into the relative oblivion of the hazy memories on the impressionable, semi-sentient children who saw it that night.

At least until the bootlegs started turning up.

About three years ago, a friend gave me his copy of the Special for my viewing pleasure. I had no fond memories of it--just vague twitches of displeasure--but sometimes the distance between childhood and adulthood has a lot of fog lingering over it, and things that seemed good then were really bad, and vice versa. So I sat down, popped the top off a bottle of Red Dog and stretched out on the couch. Two hours later, I felt violated all over again. It wasn't as bad as I remembered--it was worse.

And this week, I helped scar the psyches of a whole new generation.

After describing the Special in detail to coworkers and receiving looks of disbelief mingled with grim fascination, I was asked--no, more like ordered--to bring in a copy of it for lunchtime viewing purposes. Two days later, we sat down in the company lunch area for a public viewing--the first time I'd watched it fully sober since that fateful day in 1978. And after this viewing, I really wished that my company would let me drink on the job.

The Star Wars Holiday Special begins promisingly enough, with footage of the Millennium Falcon tooling through space while being fired upon by Imperial TIE fighters--footage the viewer quickly realizes is really just recycled from the movie when the clasp of Han Solo and Chewbacca is on videotape and looks like it was shot in somebody's darkroom. (And yep, that's really Harrison Ford in that darkroom, kids--the viewers expressing amazement that he'd have anything to do with this trash should remember that, at this point in his acting career, Harrison Ford was still a bit player on the brink of stardom, a few years away from Indiana Jones and Jack Ryan.) Han and Chewie are having a very animated discussion about getting Chewie back to his home planet--seems he has some big to-do called "Life Day" to get back for, and these Empire goons are in the way, dammit. So the Falcon jumps into hyperspace, the familiar music swells, and the words "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." come up on the screen. So far, so good.

The announcer's voice--one of those booming, throaty voices one usually doesn't find outside of game shows--hits, rolling out the now-familiar names of the actors reprising their roles from the original movie (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, "the voice of James Earl Jones," etc.) and introducing us to Chewbacca's family: His wife, Mala (who looks like Chewie, but with an apron--'cause she's, y'know, female--and...lipstick?); his dad, Itchy (looks like a walnut with hair); and his son, Lumpy (Lumpy? Chewie named his kid Lumpy? I see years and years of therapy ahead for this poor furball). As if that's not enough to set off all your alarms, Mr. Announcer Man launches into the list of guest stars: Beatrice Arthur (Maude?), Diahann Carroll (what?), Art Carney (Ed Norton?), The Jefferson Starship (not just "Jefferson Starship," but "THE Jefferson Starship") and...Harvey Korman? In three different roles? The hell? Did we just wander into an episode of Donnie & Marie or The Brady Bunch Variety Hour? Will Tony Randall and Kristy McNichol be stopping by later?

When we return from commercials, we don't go back to Han and Chewie in the heat of battle. Nope, we instead are treated to a clasp of a treehouse--actually, an obvious painting of a treehouse. Inside, we see Chewie's living room--which is carpeted with, oh Lord, Astroturf!--and his family going about their lives: Mala working in the kitchen when not sighing or grunting over Chewie's picture, Itchy carving a wooden x-wing fighter, Lumpy being a precocious pain in the ass who tries to steal cookies and protests loudly when made to do dishes or carry out the garbage...

What? You think I'm making this shit up? I wish. And it's really worse than it sounds: the scenes in which wookiees (and yes, it's spelled with an extra "e"--whose bright idea was that, George?) talk amongst themselves--and there are many of them--have no subtitles or translation. Nope. It's all grunts and snarls and yelps and...absolutely torturous to watch. Watching the wookiees watch some kind of holographic Cirque de Soliel-esque dance troop is about as much fun as watching paint dry while somebody canes your backside. And it takes for-fucking-ever for every scene to end, too.

I wish I could say things improve once humans enter the picture in one way or another, but it just ain't so. Mala dials up the videophone and...why, it's R2D2! And Luke Skywalker! Or at least I think it's Luke; Mark Hamill seems to be wearing an amazing amount of eyeliner--looks like he just finished his shift at the Baton Club. He talks to the Chewie clan while R2 fucks up an engine and makes steam shoot out or something.

Then Mala makes another videophone call...hey look! It's Art Carney! With his shirt open! Ew! I know it's the '70s and all, Art, but geez, this "Special" has enough hair with all these wookiees running around, so close that thing up, would you?--people are trying to eat here! And the next videophone call? Princess Leia with C3PO in some sterile office! Wow, Carrie Fisher's eyes sure are glassy. She looks sedated. (Too bad she couldn't have shared her stash with the viewing audience.) And is it just me or...no, she sure isn't wearing a bra. Hope that polyester outfit doesn't chafe. C3P0 tries to translate for Leia, but she just looks like she wants to slap his stupid gold-plated ass across the room.

Art Carney (playing a friendly trader who runs what looks like the intergalactic equivalent of a dollar store) stops by the treehouse with some gifties for Chewie's family. And what does one give to a Wookiee on Life Day? Depends on the wookiee in question (man, is it annoying to type that extra "e" on "wookiee" every damn time). Li'l Lumpy gets a funky electronics kit. Mala gets a holographic projector that plays music (or, at least, "The Jefferson Starship," with the lead singer yelping into a microphone that looks like a glow-in-the-dark vibrator).

And Itchy? Lucky ol' Itchy gets porn.

No. Really. Interactive porn.

Itchy puts on this virtual reality helmet and plays the program Art gives him, describing it only as "Wow!" "Wow!" turns out to be Diahann Carroll in a form-fitting white sequin outfit, cooing sweet nothings into a visibly excited Itchy's ears! "Oooo, you ARE excited! I find you irresistable!" And this was supposed to be a children's special? Double ew! And he's watching this in the living room, where Lumpy or Mala could walk in at any moment--an exhibitionist fossil wookiee! (My eyes! My beautiful eyes!) Diahann Carroll then goes into a ballad that sounds like a rejected James Bond theme and seems to last for hours. By the time she's done crooning, Itchy is spent and the audience is fast asleep.

And as if crappy holographic musical numbers weren't awful enough, there's also a cartoon thrown in for good measure with absolutely no heed to logic or reason. When some stormtroopers, led by a Nazi-looking evil dude (how do we know he's evil? he's got a scar on chis cheek--EVIL!) who gives orders like "Search upstairs!" and then snaps his fingers for emphasis (you just know the stormtrooper want to pants him), come to search the Chewbacca household and generally harass the wookiee family (even going as far as tearing through Lumpy's room and ripping the head off his stuffed bantha--EVIL!), Lumpy sits down to enjoy a cartoon featuring the adventures of Luke, Han, Chewie, etc.

Now, the cartoon itself is probably the best thing in the Special by default--it has a funky, squiggly look to it that differentiates it from other '70s animation, and it introduces the fan favorite character of master bounty hunter Boba Fett. But its inclusion in the Special makes no sense: Why is Lumpy watching an animated story about his dad? Why does he freak when a stormtrooper almost looks over his shoulder to see the cartoon, like it's some kind of live transmission? My theory: George Lucas tried to sell the network on a Star Wars animated series and comissioned this cartoon as a pilot; when the cartoon series wasn't picked up, the network threw it into the Special as filler, regardless of how little sense it made.

And if wookieespeak, bad music and animation aren't enough to make your skin crawl, how 'bout the comedy stylings of Harvey Korman? To be fair, Korman is a more-than-capable comedian who spent years yucking it up on The Carol Burnett Show and in Mel Brooks movies, but even more-than-capable comedians need good material to be funny, and nothing about his two solo skits qualifies as anything remotely near "good": he plays a TV chef/drag queen whose use of extra arms frustrates Mala to no end as she tries to prepare "Batha Surprise" for her Life Day celebration (the "Surprise" part being how miserably unfunny and long this bit is) and a malfunctioning android who tries to explain how to assemble the electronics kit Lumpy got from Art Carney, which Lumpy later uses to send a false signal to the stormtroopers to get them the hell outta his treehouse.

But if all of this hasn't laid waste to your threshold of pain, the cantina scene. Yes, it's the same setting from original movie with most of the same inhabitants, including Greedo (renamed "Ludlow" here, since Han Solo blasted a hole in Greedo's gut in the movie) and Ponda Baba (who has apparently grown back the arm Obi Wan sliced off). Harvey Korman (again!) enters the scene as a lovesick patron with flowers for bartender Bea Arthur. (Yes, Harvey has the hots for Bea--let's all share a collective shudder, shall we?). Bea wants nothing to do with Harvey, who can pour drinks in through the top of his noggin, and he rests face-down on the bar in dejection while an announcer from the Empire (who looks and sounds suspiciously like Dudley Manlove from Plan 9 from Outer Space) tells everyone that the Tatooine system is under quarantee and, thus, the bar must close. Bea tries to shoo the various creatures toward the door, but nobody budges.

So how do you empty a bar full of unruly freaks? Why, buy them one last round and sing to 'em, of course! Bea belts out a rousing to bar patrons as they run into the night, their ears bleeding uncontrolably, and she dances with "Ludlow" and Ponda Baba. And millions of children in front of TV sets across America threw their frozen dinners at the screen and burned their Star Wars toys into large plastic lumps.

This whole time, Han and Chewie would pop in from time to time, bitching about what a pain in the ass the Empire was being and trying to make it back to Wookieeworld. They do make it back eventually, though, leading to a reunion between Chewie and Mala (her fur bedewed with tears of joy) and a hug-happy Han Solo.

You'd think--hell, you'd hope--that that would be the end. But no. There's one more endurance test to go: the wookiee Life Day celebration, which involves everybody dressing in red robes, carrying little glowing globes and gathering on a dry ice-shrouded set left over from "Star Trek" (you know, one of those planets where Kirk would beam down to face his foe mano-a-mano and rip his shirt open). Han is there, too. So are Luke, C3PO, R2D2 and Princess Leia, who comes charging in with her womanhood waving in the breeze. If it took Han and Chewie three-quarters of the show to make it to Wookieeworld, how'd everybody else get there so fast? Did they take the express bus?

Anyway, Leia delivers a rambling speech about how special Life Day is and then, you guessed it, she breaks into song, singing a holiday ditty to the tune of the Star Wars theme. At the end, she either hugs Chewie or leans on him to keep from falling over, and Chewie has a flashback to scenes from the movie, perhaps to recall a time when things didn't suck so much. And the end credits roll, with George Lucas's name conspicuously absent. But one name pops out among the credited writers: Bruce Vilanch. (Explains a lot, doesn't it?)

As this Special played in the company lunchroom, a crowd gathered behind us, one or two faces added every time I turned around, each with the same stunned expression, and each asking the obvious questions or stating expressions of despair: "What the hell is this?" "This is a joke, right?" "Oh. My. God." "This is so disturbing."

But it was no joke. It really aired on a real network at a time when there were only "The Big Three." And then it vanished into TV oblivion forever. Or so George Lucas had hoped.

Lucas has long tried to distance himself from the Special and has even reportedly said that he'd like to find every bootleg copy of it and smash it with a hammer. His impulse is understandable, especially since this abomination, which he had little to do with beyond writing the basic story on which it was based because he was working on The Empire Strikes Back and didn't have the time to devote to the Special, reflects so poorly on his CGI/Muppet-stuffed universe. (Like Episode One, with its just-barely-not-a-remake-of-the-original-Star-Wars storyline and Jar-Jar-riffic characters, and Episode Two, with its thunderously clunky dialogue, don't.)

But you know what, Uncle George? You should just put the damn Special out on "collector's edition" tapes and DVDs and collect all the money being made off the bootlegs. Imagine the commentary track from Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher:

CARRIE: Man, was I lit in that scene!
MARK: I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

But more important, Mr. Lucas, imagine the millions of dollars LucasFilms will have flung at it--at you--if you put this horror show out officially. Look what happened when Prince's "Black Album" and Bob Dylan's "Royal Albert Hall Concert" were finally released by actual record companies: in each case, the bootleg market would dry up overnight. The same thing would happen with the Special. And all that money that the bootleggers are making? That would go straight into your full-to-overflowing-already wallet.

And the rest of us can have a good laugh. Or a bad one. It depends on your level of intoxication.

A Christmas Casa

There's always an annual self-debate within the walls of La Casa del Terror: to decorate for Christmas, or not to decorate? That is the question. Do I lug out the storage container full of ornaments, garlands and figurines, or do I spare myself the bother? After all, I live alone and don't get many visitors (at least not after the Halloween Movie Bash), so the only person who will see these festive knickknacks will be me and the Girlish Girls, who could not possibly care less--unless I roll the tree in catnip, they'll not be roused to action.

But then I take a walk around my neighborhood, and the debate rapidly ends.

There are a lot of single-family homes in my hood, and many of the owners go all out at Christmastime. From sequential lights rimming the rooftops to inflatable snowmen tucked onto too-small front porches to life-sized illuminated figures of Jesus, Joseph and the Virgin Mary, these homeowners charge into the holiday season with admirable, even enviable vigor. If they can go all out like that, can't I spare a minute or three to dig in my closet and set up a tree? Especially since no one else in my particular apartment building seems to have decorated at all?

So the debate, then, boils down not to whether or not to decorate for Christmas, but the degree to which I decorate: shall I dust off the artificial pine, or will some vintage figurines suffice? Last year, the latter was the case. I set up a small display in the living room, smiled at it occasionally and dismantled it before the sun had set on New Year's Day. But this year, when I could sincerely use some extra cheer and would rather spend the whole season in bed? It would have been easy to blow off decorating entirely. Really, it would have. And it wouldn't have been a network television first, either.

Instead, on Thanksgiving Day, when I was home alone for the first time ever (because Mom's employers, in their eternal wisdom, scheduled her to work both Wednesday second shift and Thursday first shift, thus delaying any cooking till Thanksgiving evening--and don't even ask me why I didn't cook for her: she really enjoys making holiday meals for her sons and likely wouldn't touch any poultry I roasted for her benefit), I lugged out the three-foot-tall wire tree (still haven't upgraded to an antique aluminum tree), popped the top off the clay-green storage container with the Christmas decorations and popped on appropriate holiday music--A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, in this instance. And, over the course of a couple of hours, I transformed La Casa del Terror into a winter wonderland.

Okay, so my apartment isn't quite ready for a presidential visit or scrutiny by Martha Stewart--unless Martha is really into The Nightmare Before Christmas or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, in which case she might actually dig it. Under the lamp in the living room, Jack Skellington and Sally dolls keep watch over Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and King Moonracer figurines. In the kitchen, a blue-and-silver garland with gifts evenly spaced dangles over the windows while the resin bass ornament (given to me by Mom to remind me of Dad, as if I could forget him) guards the doorway and an angel in gold lame watches from atop the fridge and the Frankenstein Monster, resplendent in a Santa cap, holds down the microwave.

And then there's the bookcase in the southeast corner of the living room, which is currently covered, from left to right and left again, with holiday cards from friends near and far, with animals decorating a pine tree, a Victorian girl writing Santa, purple and silver snowflakes, a pair of imposing nutcrackers, a serene waterfall, a collection of festive puppies, shining deer, a bow from a "Bettie Page in Bondage" alarm clock (which now resides atop my SuperDisk drive, quietly ticking away the time), and lots and lots of snowmen (can one ever have enough?).

And on the top shelf of this bookcase, where Mom's tin dollhouse can usually be found, stands the Christmas tree, such as it is. There are many little figures surrounding it, from hand-painted Santas to elves to Mom's favorite childhood toy, Molly the Dolly. But the tree itself is small--only three feet tall--so I usually have many more ornaments than I have branches. A couple of themes, then, must be selected from the assortment in the storage container. Carousel horses? Cartoon characters? Kittens? Nothing more than shiny balls? All have been past choices, and all served me well. This year, though, I went with an eclectic selection of superheroes (Batman, Wonder Woman, the Tick), personal faves (a holiday unicorn, a chrome-plated Kris Kringle) and a new addition or two (Bettie Page in a leopard-print bikini).

Oh. And angels. Lots and lots of angels.

I've always liked angels, and my Christmas trees have always reflected that--from small porcelain angels found in department stores to angels way too big for this little tree but too pretty to keep in storage to tiny gold cherubs to a cookie-colored angel, cradling a dove in her delicate hands, that had been intended to be given as a gift to a woman I thought I loved at the time, but which wound up staying with me anyway. (Time has healed that, if not all, wounds.)

The most special angel on my tree, though, is also arguably the cheapest: a small cardboard girl, covered in what looks like silver chain mail and holding a tiny candle in each of her pipe-cleaner hands. She's not the largest angel on my tree, nor the most beautiful, nor in the best of shape, her wings held on by Scotch tape. But this humble girl, Angelique by name, always gets the center spot on the front of the tree in those years when I bother to put a tree up, because she was found in a tin can in the wreckage of Grandma's house after it had burned to the ground on a cold February morning. The can contained many decorations that make the tree every year, and more than one angel.

But Angelique is a dead ringer for the angel my parents put on their tree every year--an angel purchased at Jules Five & Dime on Milwaukee Avenue, where Mom had worked as a teen and which is still in business just down the street from the Congress Theatre and just up the street from White Castle. Angelique was a sister to my parents' angel. She was family and deserved to be honored as such. And so she is.

I may be the only person who sees my holiday decorations this year, it's true. But as light my pine-scented candles from Walgreen's (best to be found, I tell you) and go through my demented collection of Christmas programs, from the recent Saturday Night Live clip show to Mr. Krueger's Christmas, a strange half-hour sponsored by the Mormon Church and starring Jimmy Stewart (he has a cat named George--get it?), to the joyfully painful experience that is The Star Wars Holiday Special (if you ever want to feel better about your life, watch this show and be glad you had nothing to do with it), I'll look up from time to time and check out my surroundings, if only momentarily. The tree. The angels. And, for those moments, at least, I'll smile and give myself a damn break. And if this is as good as my life gets, though I certainly hope for more and for better, I don't have too much to complain about. So I won't. For a change. My gift to you. And to myself.

Peace to you and yours this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Dad's Winter Coat

Lately, I've been restless, prowling. I don't like to go straight home after work anymore. I have to get there sometime, of course--at least until Lottie and Ms. Christopher figure out how to open the tins of Friskies Senior themselves, anyway. But these days, I make stops on the way home: at book stores, record shops, movie theaters, bars. (Yes, restlessness can get expensive.) But last night, after a quick sightseeing tour through Borders at State and Randolph, I wandered over to Daley Plaza.

Daley Plaza, named for the longtime mayor of Chicago (and father of the current longtime mayor of Chicago), is best known for the Picasso sculpture that stands there--a sculpture so initially befuddling to natives that there was a strong temptation to send it back for a refund. In the summer, farmers markets are held there--great source for fresh apples, spices and catnip (not to be used all at the same time, you understand). And at this time of year, an enormous tree (itself composed of 80 or so smaller trees) stands at the south end of the Plaza with a German-style marketplace occupies much of the rest of the space. The marketplace consists of small shops selling seasonal goods, traditional foods and drinks to either warm you (cider) or make you not care so much that you're cold (beer).

I walked around the Plaza for a while, the scents of brats and cinnamon weaving around me, the sight of glass angels tempting my wallet and my heart, the sound of couples cooing over the size of the tree sending my hands ever deeper into my pockets. Snowflakes tumbled down around the Christmas tree, through the ribs of the Picasso and onto the Plaza, its booths, me. I barely noticed. Maybe because I was lost in thought. Maybe because the smells, sights, sounds distracted me. Or maybe because of Dad's winter coat.

Dad's winter coat is an ugly brute. It must have been a deep blue bordering on navy at some point in its distant past, but now it's faded almost to the point of pastel. Its lining isn't much better: what had once been dark red was now more of a medium-rare pink. And the overall condition of the coat? Like its wearer had tumbled down a hill, gotten up, and repeated the process--a few thousand times. Small rips in the corners of the pockets. A bit of insulation dangling from the medium-rare lining. A 90-degree gash on the left shoulder (more on that in a moment). And the right armpit has a split that I have yet to sew. (Yes, I can sew. Why do you ask?)

Overall, the poor thing is by no means fashionable and looks like the Salvation Army would reject it.

Then again, it doesn't look that much different than it did 30 years ago--when Dad stopped wearing it entirely.

Back then, Dad worked as a switchman for one of the major rail lines, usually pulling second or third shift. Even with that schedule, though, he always found an open bar to spend some time at before coming home and having a few more brews. Sometimes the bar was a neighborhood joint, like Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center (no, really, that's what it's called), but sometimes he'd sit in whatever was open at those less-than-godly hours. He was an alcoholic, and it cost him big time in the end, with his body giving out on him at age 60, even though he had been clean and sober for more than a decade beforehand. The damage had been done--it just took that long to catch up.

But his drinking cost him in the short run, too, putting him in exactly the wrong place at exactly the wrong time.

One winter morning after finishing his shift, Dad was in a bar on the South Side--don't ask me the name of the place, because if I ever did know it I forgot it long ago--when a fight broke out, as will happen after too many hours of too much drinking among too many with too few brain cells when they're sober. Dad wasn't the barroom brawl type. Just not his style. No doubt, he was just drinking quietly and not bothering a soul when the fists started to fly.

And it didn't matter a damn anyway. Somebody still grabbed him and threw him head-first out of the plate glass window at the front of the bar.

He didn't spend much time in the hospital. Didn't need to. He got cut up pretty well on his hands and was still pulling stitches out years later. His face didn't get slashed, but a piece of glass found the optic nerve of his right eye and severed it. (At least I think it was his right eye--he didn't lose the eye itself, so no one would know he was blind in either eye unless he told them.) The rest of his body was fairly well protected--by the winter coat. Only that 90-degree gash on the left shoulder remains as evidence of what happened to Dad that cold morning.

Without the sight in his eye, Dad couldn't work as a switchman anymore. Never mind that the man could see better with that one functioning eye than most folks can with two good ones--he somehow always saw the bus coming before I did at the stop and could eye a storm on the far horizon hours before a single raindrop fell. But rules are rules. Dad got a pension and went on to do other things with his life, chiefly working jobs in factories where his lack of vision wasn't an obstacle to doing good work. And he did well enough, helping to support his family and put one child all the way through college.

But the winter coat? It didn't fare so well. After the incident at the bar, it was relegated to a hanger at the back of the closet in his bedroom. And when we moved into our house, the same coat stayed on the same hanger and went to the same position of the new closet, which is where Mom and I found it after he died in 1995.

I guess I understand why he didn't want to wear the coat anymore after that night. The coat as a whole, and the gash on the left shoulder in particular, no doubt reminded him of what had happened, what he had lost, what that night had cost him--even though the coat had likely saved him from further debilitating damage, if not death itself. Why, then, didn't Dad just throw the coat away? Or donate it to charity? Or give it to one of his strapping sons? Was it a reminder of good times as well? Did he not want to throw the good away for the sake of the bad? I'll never know--Dad took that tidbit, and so many others, to his grave.

Once Mom and I had found the coat in the back of that bedroom closet, though, she had no objections to letting me take it, if I wanted it. And it wasn't like I didn't have winter coats of my own. But it was his. It had history, both good and bad. And it was warm.

So as I did circles around Daley Plaza last night, I might have felt melancholy or restlessness or happiness or whatever. But I sure as hell didn't feel cold.

Thanks, Dad.