In the midst of all the new Christmas books that every year brings us, in the midst of all the made-for-Netflix holiday programs, in the midst of all the productions of The Nutcracker, in the midst of all the seasonal movies (from It’s a Wonderful Life to Die Hard), in the midst of all the Yuletide television specials, it might be worth remembering an indisputable truth about Christmas art: The single most successful bit of seasonal fiction is Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
In 1961, Cecilia Chiang opened a tiny restaurant in San Francisco called the Mandarin. It offered authentic Chinese cuisine that attracted a devoted following. Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s fame was a fan. But more important was man-about-town Herb Caen of the San Francisco Chronicle. On the one hand he called it a “little hole in the wall.” On the other, he said it had “the best Chinese food east of the Pacific.” Seven years later the Mandarin moved to Ghirardelli Square—expanding from 65 seats to 300—becoming one of San Francisco’s premier dining destinations.
Note: The following passages are excerpted from “The Twelve Days of Biffmas,” a holiday-themed chapter in the forthcoming self-published memoir “Diddle Me This,” by Free Beacon Ombudsman Biff Diddle. Enjoy! Former Yugoslavia, 1993 “I’m just not the marrying type,” I told her once the shelling had waned. She started to respond, but I cut her off. …
There’s no reason Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse should work, really. It mucks about with concepts that only deep readers of the comic books will be familiar with. It introduces half a dozen new characters in an incredibly short amount of time. It is brought to life in an odd animation style that serves as an implicit rejection of the super-slick Pixar/Disney ideal that has come to dominate animated films in recent years.