A Star Wars, middle class Christmas

Come Heller high water …

∫ People seem to either really love or hate “The Last Jedi.” Me, I’m in the squishy middle, as I am with all Star Wars movies except the first. There were moments that were so incredibly Star-Warsy awful (many involving that damned round robot and its seeming superhero powers) that I groaned out loud. But there also were moments I thought were genuinely exciting and well-done. In the end, it was a Star Wars movie — we’ve seen it all before so we shouldn’t expect anything too new or fresh, right? You don’t expect a pizza to taste like a banana. Or you shouldn’t anyway.

∫ Speaking of pizza, Little Caesars is installing windows at its new corporate headquarters shaped like a pizza slice, only without the grease and the cheap pepperoni slices.

∫ Does anyone else call it Little Squeezers, or is it just us?

∫ So glad the Michigan Supreme Court sided with teachers in ordering the state to repay 3 percent of their pay taken from them by the Snyder administration to pay for retiree health care. Snyder spent $200,000 of our tax money fighting the teachers’ lawsuit, even after his own attorney general dropped the case. He should pay us back that money.

∫ If you’re over 40 and ever wondered why your parents seemed to live better back in the day than your family does today, even though you make way more money, I recommend a column by P.J. O’Rourke in American Consequences with the headline “The Price of Being Middle Class.” By his estimation, it cost about $20,000 (in today’s dollars) for a family of five to live an ordinary middle-class life back in 1952, including mortgage, a new car every five years, an annual vacation, and schooling the kids. Today it costs $145,000 to live the same life. Stunning, right?

∫ Last year, I crabbed about what I consider the worst Christmas tune ever — Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” (I just threw up in my mouth as the tune entered my head.) So now here are my all-time favorites: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, “Silver Bells” by Johnny Mathis, “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams, and “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Aside from Carey, I don’t think there’s been a Christmas tune made after 1970 that’s worth a darn.

∫ Heck, while I’m at it, my two favorite Christmas movies are “Christmas Story” and “Love, Actually.” I’d add “Die Hard” but everyone gets mad at me when I say it’s a Christmas movie. (Which it is.) “Home Alone” also never gets old.

∫ Most overrated Christmas movie ever: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love Jimmy Stewart but, good grief, is his acting over-the-top in that.

∫ I have an 18-year-old son so I end up hearing a lot of hip-hop songs. In seemingly half of them, one of the “singers” (not sure singing is what they actually do — emoting, maybe) makes a cricket sound, like “bdddd-bddddd!” I tell him the Beatles would have never made cricket sounds, then I do a few bars of “Yesterday” with cricket sounds inserted. He rolls his eyes and goes back to staring at his phone. Tormenting kids with dad humor is great fun.

∫ He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” — Roy L. Smith.