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The Slice: Good grief! There’s a lot to this story

Mon., Dec. 8, 2008

Let’s consider some study-guide questions for use in conjunction with viewing “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” tonight on ABC.

This should not be considered the ultimate family-discussion curriculum. Just regard these questions as a way to get the conversation started.

•How do you suppose Snoopy acquired all those lights and ornaments?

•Does Charlie Brown’s apparent unfamiliarity with the New Testament make you think Schulz pictured all this taking place in the unchurched Northwest – instead of , say, his native Minnesota? (Yes, yes, he lived in California. But then how would you explain the snow, et cetera?)

•OK, Charlie Brown did seem to know enough to assign roles based on a traditional Christmas pageant. But could he have somehow imagined that the Nativity was a secular story?

•What is Lucy’s chief shortcoming as a therapist?

•Is Linus advocating tossing out the Constitution and establishing a radical fundamentalist theocracy?

•Would real estate still be a desirable gift?

•Is it a Christmas miracle when decorating the scraggly little tree somehow makes it a lot fuller and greener as well?

•Have you encountered the word “blandishment” in any other context?

•Did you know that even Rush Limbaugh has questioned Bill O’Reilly’s depth, likening him to Ted Baxter, the TV anchor boob on the “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”?

•Is the line about the “big Eastern syndicate” a veiled reference to China?

•What was Charlie Brown’s No. 1 failure as a theatrical director?

•Adjusting for inflation, what would those “tens and twenties” to which Sally alludes be worth in today’s dollars?

•Have there ever actually been artificial Christmas trees that were rigid and conical?

•Did you know Beethoven’s birthday is next week?

•What is the actual sound of falling on a skating rink?

•Did you know that there was a time when children were advised not to consume snowflakes because of concerns about radioactive fallout in the atmosphere from nuclear weapons testing?

•Have you thought about the fact that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was produced just a few years after the time in which the TV show “Mad Men” is set?

•Had you ever even heard of Dolly Madison products before that first airing?

•When Lucy asks, “Isn’t it a great play?” how would you answer?

•Would the show have become a seasonal staple without that music?

•Can you recite that passage from Luke because of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?

•Today’s Slice question: Who gets a holiday tip and who doesn’t?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098; e-mail Mike Storms keeps track of and celebrates the number of months he has been married – 414 and counting.

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