And Never Mind the Forkfuls of Stuffing, Pumpkin Pie and Family-Fueled Bitterness
Even though we’re sure you remember about as much about the true history of Thanksgiving as we do, we’d like to wish you all a happy holiday. There’s plenty to be thankful for, and maybe you should think of a thing or two as you post up at the holiday table and start throwin’ elbows to keep the relatives from the white meat you feel you earned. What sort of things? Well, how about the fact that Tina Yothers hasn’t released an album of Christmas tunes? Or that there are currently no plans for a Hardcastle & McCormick feature film. Or that you’re not a Twins or Expos fan. Pick one or make one up for yourself. Just don’t be surprised to find yourself face-down in the pumpkin pie when the tryptophan hits.

Jason Falkner, Bedtime with the Beatles: A Lullaby Album (Sony Wonder):
Maybe playing Mozart for kids really does improve their math skills, but I feel pretty sure that Beatles melodies are just as good for their souls. With this gossamer set of instrumentals, modern pop genius and multi-instrumentalist Jason Falkner has answered parents’ prayers; bedtime now offers an opportunity to commune with the little ones to some of the prettiest tunes ever penned. Falkner’s charming, soulful and inventive takes on "Blackbird," "Across the Universe," "I’m Only Sleeping," "Mother Nature’s Son," "Michelle," "Here, There and Everywhere" and other gems manage to soothe without being soporific. By turns jazzy, playful, cinematic and melancholy, these renditions do much to rescue the pop instrumental form from the elevator, and promise to send kids off to the kind of dreamland we’d all like to inhabit. –Simon Glickman

Spy Game (Universal Pictures):
A grizzled Robert Redford plays a CIA agent ready to be put out to pasture, but first must head to China to get fellow agent Brad Pitt out of prison. Action director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State) has his kinetic style at work in this tale, which takes place in '91, but seems much more anachronistic than that in this post-Sept. 11 world. As he did in the recent The Last Castle, Redford plays an older, more grizzled version of a character he once played before—this time in Three Days of the Condor, though the three flashbacks which frame the movie find him stretching to play even younger. There's a scene of a suicide truck bomber ramming into a Beirut building, which is almost obscene given current circumstances. The Decca/UMG soundtrack features Harry Gregson-Williams' original score, while the www.spygame.net website is an elaborate, state-of-the-art presentation that mimics a case file, with 360-degree camera angles.

Black Knight (20th Century Fox): This fish-out-of-water tale stars Martin Lawrence as a South Central L.A. worker at the run-down theme park "Medieval World" who lands in a fetid moat and finds himself transported back in time to 14th century England. The conceit gives the comic a chance to riff like mad in his green New York Jets football jersey. Sure sounds like the recent Jean Reno-starring Just Visiting or the similarly contemporized Knight's Tale to us, but OK, we'll play along. The movie was directed by TV comedy veteran Gil Junger (who helmed the coming-out episode of Ellen and the teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You) and co-written by collaborator Darryl J. Quarles (Big Momma's House). The plot concerns Lawrence ending up at the court of King Leo (Kevin Conway), where he tells everyone he comes from "Florence & Normandie" and is mistaken for a Norman count scheduled to wed the king's promiscuous daughter. If that sounds like your cup of tea, by all means, check it out. The Varese Sarabande soundtrack features an original score by Randy Edelman, while the www.blackknightmovie.com website features a dancing knight, and sections "about thee film," "thy cast and crew," "ye trailer" and "thee photo gallery."

Sidewalks of New York (Paramount Classics): This new movie effectively answers the question, "Whatever happened to Ed Burns?" The once-promising filmmaker attempts to recapture the magic of his debut feature, The Brothers McMullen, with a Woody Allen-esque version of his Husbands and Wives. It's a tale of six Noo Yawkas looking for love in all the wrong places, with the men caddish adulterers—except, of course, for the part played by Burns, and the women as emotionally detached survivors. The film's characters address the camera Real World-stylee, with Rosario Dawson (Josie & the Pussycats) as a grade-school teacher who divorced her husband (David Krumholtz) because of his wandering ways. Krumholtz now has the hots for an NYU student and part-time waitress (Brittany Murphy), who won't succumb to his advances because she's involved with Stanley Tucci's immoral dentist. Tucci, in turn, is married to real-estate agent Heather Graham, whose clients include Burns, a sensitive stud looking to buy a loft after getting dumped by his girlfriend. Dennis Farina plays Tommy's co-worker Carpo, who believes any problem with the opposite sex can be solved by cologne. The website, www.paramountclassics.com/sidewalks, reveals tantalizing tidbits, including that Burns based the film on Max Ophuls' La Ronde and the Italian anthology flick Amore In Citta, while offering Carpo's love advice.

Out Cold (Touchstone Pictures): This flick's for those who want to snowboard, drink beer and chase snow bunnies, but are too lazy to actually go out and do it. The Six Million Dollar Man himself, Lee Majors, is a cigar-chomping cowboy who buys an Alaskan resort and turns it into a yuppie hangout, thereby ruining the high-altitude hijinks of buddies Jason London (Dazed and Confused), Zach Galifianakis (Bubble Boy) Flex Alexander (EDTV) and Derek Hamilton (Disturbing Behavior). Shades of Hot Dog… The Movie. The flick's been getting nonstop TV advertising, though it looks downright awful. It was directed by a pair of brothers who bill themselves as The Malloys, but they're hardly the Coens, or even the Farrellys, for that matter. There is the requistive blond, buxom bimbo Playmate of the Year (Victoria Silvstedt) and a predictably rocking RCA Records soundtrack featuring Eve 6, Sum 41, Foo Fighters, Jack Johnson, Lit, Jimmy Eat World, Doyle Bramhall and the James Gang. The website, www.outcold.movies.com, looks better than the movie itself.—Roy Trakin

WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It!:
I’m goin’ to make it short and sweet cuz we have a long weekend. In WWF Smackdown, you’re goin’ to square off against more than 30 WWF Superstars in 60 different match types as tha most electrifying show in sports-entertainment comes to life like never before. Perform bone-shattering finishers—from Tha Rock Bottom to Tha Stone Cold Stunner—as you annihilate opponents with more than 1,000 different moves. WWF-style presentation, real-time events and on-the fly commentary called by Michael Cole and Tazz puts players in the spectacle of the World Wrestling Federation as stories play out and champions are crowned.Latin "Big Punisher" Prince

On Black Friday, I'll be setting my alarm for 4:30 am to get up for the Christmas shopping rush—despite having all my shopping done. I just like watching in amusement as suburban housewives fight over thoughtless gifts. C’mon, does your mother-in-law really need another picture frame? I'll be up in Ithaca, so I'll be missing the great shows happening this weekend, especially Friday’s Superchunk show at Bowery Ballroom. Superchunk can do no wrong live, with each show I've seen being totally energetic. Even worse about me missing their shows (they also play on Saturday at Bowery) is opening act Rilo Kiley, a completely amazing pop-rock outfit from L.A. Also on Saturday, there's "John Kelly's Shiny Hot Nights: More Songs of Joni Mitchell" at Fez. Kelly's drag impersonation of Joni is such a great transformation that you'll forget that it's not actually Ms. Mitchell herself. Sunday has The Vue at Brownies. Not the most original rock outfit—think early Stones—but they always put on a good show. —Heidi Anne-Noel

"The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office." –Robert Frost

Richard Mentor Johnson, our ninth veep, was born in Beargrass (now Louisville), KY, on Oct. 17, 1781. Though never proven to be a vampire, Johnson studied law at Transylvania University and was admitted to the bar in 1802. A Democrat, Johnson served in Congress for three decades, both in the House (1807-1819 and 1829-1837) and the Senate (1819-1829). Johnson’s loyalty to President Andrew Jackson won him the vice-presidential nomination on the Democratic ticket with Martin Van Buren in 1836. Van Buren won a majority in the Electoral College, but Johnson did not, and for the only time the choice of a vice president went to the U.S. Senate. Johnson died in Frankfort, KY, on Nov. 19, 1850. Best Anagram of his Name: Non-rich dormant josher.

You’ll Never Guess What He Used to Retrieve the Other Balloon: A Wichita, KS, man got a coat hanger stuck in his throat while trying to dislodge a balloon of cocaine he had swallowed. According to police, the man decided to stick the hooked end of a coat hanger into his throat in an effort to retrieve a small balloon he said he accidentally swallowed while at a party. "He just bent it and forced it down his throat," said a police spokeswoman. The hooked end of the hanger became lodged in the man's throat and he was rushed to a Wichita-area hospital, where doctors initially were baffled by the bizarre circumstances. While operating on the man to remove the hanger, surgeons found the drug-filled balloon. The man was expected to remain hospitalized for more than a week but was expected to recover. Police said they were recommending to prosecutors that the 33-year-old man be charged with felony possession of cocaine. –J.D.

Plus Lucky Numbers!
Our fortunes and lucky numbers owe everything to the Pilgrims.
You will be presented with a golden opportunity.
2, 15, 27, 28, 42, 50.

Upcoming Birthdays
Nov. 21-29
21—Ken Griffey Jr. (32)
22—Rodney Dangerfield (80) & Billy Jean King (58)
23—Boris Karloff (would have been 114) & Harpo Marx (would have been 113)
24—Scott Joplin (would have been 133)
26—Tina Turner (63)
27—Bruce Lee (would have been 61) & Jimi Hendrix (would have been 59)
28—Randy Newman (58) & Paul Shaffer (52)
29—Billy Strayhorn (would have been 86) & Garry Shandling (52)

Special Events
23—National Leftover Awareness Week Begins

Now with even more gravy: It’s going to rain in Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday. Remain calm people, if you must drive, remember that nobody here has ever seen rain before and they think swerving at random will help avoid getting wet. For those of you in NYC might see some rain on Friday, otherwise it will be partly cloudy with high temps in the upper 50s and lows in the mid-40s. Tip: to get your wishbone wish, don’t pull and the other person will lose. —David Simutis, Senior Turkey Eater

Purely by chance, Jo learns that a young teacher—and close friend—has decided to exit Eastland.

A December to remember (12/6a)
Yet another post about Post (12/6a)
With lots of shiny tinsel (12/6a)
What a great guy (12/6a)
Those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it. (12/6a)
Ours is mostly bourbon.
Delicious in salads.
Ours are roasting, but it could be these slim-fit jeans.
An entire Christmas tree made of it. Is what we want for Christmas.

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