Friday, February 22

Interview With Webmaster, William Mortensen Vaughan

William Mortensen Vaughan  in black tophat and Royal Stewart Tartan tuxedo
William Mortensen Vaughan
We last interviewed our Senior Editor, William Mortensen Vaughan, in April, 2017.  We decided it was high time to catch up with him again.

La Libertad:  The last time we interviewed you, you were hosting a contest or give-away on your website, A U.S. Christmas Carol.  How did that go?

William:  It didn't.  No one entered.  I'd had contests before, which attracted several participants, but I offered hundreds of dollars in prize money.  No one seems to be interested in cheap prizes, such as D.V.D.s [Digital Video Discs]. They want cash.  Unfortunately, I'm no longer willing to offer prize money.  Perhaps I will again, another year.

The good news is that I've apparently done something right as far as S.E.O. [Search Engine Optimization], because for months now, whenever I "Google" "us christmas carol" or "christmas carol us," A U.S. Christmas Carol is the first "hit" returned - even before any Wikipedia article.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear on the first page of "hits," when you "Google" "christmas carol."  Of course, I'd really love it if my site were the first hit returned whenever anyone "Googled" "christmas"!

La Libertad:  How extensive is your collection of adaptations of A Christmas Carol now?

William:  I don't know for sure, but I've probably collected a dozen adaptations since the last time you asked me, so about seven dozen, I think.

And that's just on D.V.D. and V.H.S. [Video Home System].  I've also started collecting audio-only adaptatations on C.D. [Compact Discs], and Audible, as well as literary adaptations via Kindle.

La Libertad:  What are some of the best  and worst adaptations you've seen, heard, or read since our last interview?

William:  I've seen some of my least favorite video adaptations, starring Stuart Brennan, Matthew McConaughey, and Brian Cook.

A Christmas Carol (2018), starring Stuart Brennan as a modern, Scottish Ebenezer Scrooge, features a Ghost of Christmas Past (Rebecca Hanssen) who looks more like a lingerie model in white lace and garter belts than a spiritual messenger.  This adaptation also replaces the Ghost of Christmas Present with "the Goose of Christmas Present" (Mark Lyminster).  Apparently, "goose" is slang for "homosexual," and this particular homosexual man seems to "hit on" Scrooge with sexual innuendo. 

The McConaughey adaptation, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), is almost pornographic, and features a scene in which McConaughey's character is caught in a rainstorm of used condoms.

The sexuality is more subtle in the Brian Cook adaptation, My Dad Is Scrooge (2014), but, disturbingly, it's there.  It also features child who urinates on the floor, and another who refuses to change his stinking socks.  Furthermore, it features farm animals who walk around indoors, and ride inside luxury sedans.  The fact that they speak English isn't necessarily a good thing, either.

For me, the best part of this adaptation of A Christmas Carol, is Brian Cook's refusal to dye the white spots in his hair.  When I first saw him, which was in this film, I thought it was snow, because his first scene shows him being struck with a snowball.  Then I thought perhaps he'd been moonlighting as a painter, and that he and all the film crew members (not to mention the video editors) missed a few spots of white paint before his appearance on set.  Then, curious, I Googled "brian cook," and discovered that his brown hair really has white spots in it, and he and those who employ him could not, apparently, care less.  More power to him!

I also discovered an adaptation, in the form of an episode of Sanford and Son, starring Redd Foxx; I bought the whole series on D.V.D., since it's nostalgic for me, and I'm ashamed to admit that I apparently missed this Christmas episode.

The best adaptation I've seen since our last interview, is The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017), starring Christopher Plummer as Scrooge, and Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens, which I saw at a cinema soon after the date of its release, November 10, 2017.  Since then, I've watched it it on D.V.D. and BluRay innumerable times.

The first audible adaptation I listened to was Jonathan Winters', which I found, on C.D., at a secondhand store.  Then I discovered A Shoe Addict's Christmas on Audible.  I've been hooked on audibles ever since.  I've heard Sir Patrick Stewart's audible adaptation, not to be confused with the movieNeil Gaiman has a good one on SoundCloud.

I downloaded a Western adaptation featuring the voice of James Stewart, with Howard McNear providing the voice for Ebenezer Scrooge in that adaptation, which was an episode of a radio show about a man named Brit Ponset, also known as "The Six-Shooter."  Howard McNear later played Floyd the Barber on "The Andy Griffith Show."  What I find particularly entertaining about Jimmy Stewart's adaptation is all the ways "Brit Ponset" is spelled:  Brit Ponsett, Britt Ponset, Britt Ponsett, Brit Poncett...  Not to mention the fact that his character and his revolver are both  nicknamed "the Six-Shooter," as if he were a "bad hombre," but his character sounds like a milktoast.

It's hard to believe Jimmy Stewart was, in reality, a Commanding Officer and a bomber pilot who flew twenty missions in combat during World War II.  He retired later as a Brigadier General.

The best audible adaptation that I've heard is Tim Curry's unabridged adaptation, not to be confused, again, with his video adaptation.  Three and a half hours, including Dickens' slight about U.S. Securities being worthless!  And Tim Curry makes every moment of those three and a half hours a pleasure to listen to.  Amazing!

There are spin-offs, too, which I've listened to, such as "Jacob T. Marley," "Miss Marley," and "Tiny Tim and the Ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge."

The worst audible adaptation I've heard is "The Indian Christmas Carol," which is prose followed by an instrumental musical number.  It should have been marketed as a song - not an Audible.

I've had less luck with literary adaptations.  I read an  H.P. Lovecraft spoof adaptation by John Sheehan, and a set of plays for children to perform by authors Brendan P. Kelso and Khara C. Barnhart.  I found both of these literary adaptations slightly amusing - emphasis on "slightly."

La Libertad:  What upcoming adaptations, if any, are you looking forward to?

William:  Ice Cube is starring as "the Scrooge" in an adaptation called Humbug! which is scheduled for release this year [2019].

Candace Cameron Bure has already appeared in a film adaptation of A Shoe Addict's Christmas, which aired on the Hallmark Channel, but which I have yet to see, when it's released on the HallmarkNow "app" [application].

La Libertad:  What else have you been doing since our last interview?

William:  Today [February 20, 2019], I received notification that my Google Knowledge Panel has been verified by Google.  I applied a couple of days ago.  Now I can recommend changes, which will have greater weight than if I were someone else.

Unfortunately, I am not, apparently, important or notable enough to be verified on Facebook or Twitter.

I've also taken a greater interest in my genealogy than ever before.  I've tenuously traced my lineage all the way back through Vikings and Trojans, such as Thorgil Sprakling and King Priam, to Norse and Greek "gods" such as Zeus and Thor, and from them to Adam - emphasis on "tenuously"!

More believably, I've traced my Welsh lineage back through Lords such as Madog ap Gruffydd Maelor, to Casnar Wledig, born circa 500 A.D. [Anno Domini], about the time the legendary King Arthur was allegedly pulling the legendary Excalibur out of the legendary stone, and the historic Battle of Badon Hills.

More recently, my great grandfather Luther Clay Vaughan was perhaps born in Kentucky, but went to Indiana to join their Infantry to fight for the Union during the Civil War.

My great grandfather Rasmus Julius Smith, on my mother's side, was a Pony Express Rider between Utah and Idaho.

La Libertad:  Are you related to anyone famous?

William:  I recently discovered that Charles Dickens was a distant cousin of mine.  We are both descendants of a Scottish Earl named Alexander Gordon.

According to, I have a lot of famous, distant cousins, including Queen Anne Stuart, who ruled over England and Ireland in the early Eighteenth Century (circa 1700 A.D.); P.T. Barnum, of circus fame; Johnny Cash; Johnny Carson; Jimi Hendrix; Elvis Presley; Janis Joplin; Richard and Karen Carpenter; Gene Autry; Jim Morrison; David Bowie; Walt Disney; Humphrey Bogart; John Wayne; Buddy Holly...  I find it particularly amusing that I might be related to Buddy Holly, since, over the years, people have called me that, and/or suggested that I resembled him.

I have also discovered links to dozens of the Defenders of the Alamo, including the Garrison Commander, Lieutenant Colonel James Bonham; Colonel Davy Crockett; and Jim Bowie, the alleged inventor of the Bowie knife.

I believe that I am related to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Viggo Mortensen, and Taylor Swift, but I have yet to make the connections.  The same goes for a somewhat famous photographer, for whom I am apparently mistaken online, named William Mortensen, who was born in Park City, Utah, and moved to California.  We are both descended from Danish Mormons who emigrated from Denmark to Utah during the 1800's.

I alo believe that a certain Jessica Vaughan is my second cousin, but I have yet to prove that.

La Libertad:  What are your favorite genealogical websites?

William: My favorite, where I "do" most of my genealogy, is

I also like the Mormons' and

Unlike and and others, they do not offer anything for money.  Unfortunately, they are open to the public, like Wikipedia, so anyone can potentially log in and change things.  One day your lineage is traced back to Adam, and the next it doesn't even make it back to Thorgil Sprakling.  I haven't had as many problems like that with WikiTree, although the opportunity for genealogical vandalism is also there.

Perhaps, another reason I gravitate to WikiTree is that it's so easy to get recognition there.  I've only had a WikiTree account for about four months (since November, 2018), and already I have sixteen badges.

I consider FamilySearch invaluable, though, because of all the sources it has, such as U.S. and State Censuses.  RelativeFinder uses the same database (and you use the same user I.D. [identification] and password to log in); it generates lists and spreadsheets of famous relatives.  You can sort by entertainers, U.S. Presidents, and Defenders of the Alamo, as well as many other groups you might be interested in, such as people who came over on the Mayflower, or signed the Magna Carta.

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers about?

William:  In the past few weeks I've reached the Top Ten on the Leader Board of Luxor BlackJack by Yazino.

I am also in the top one percent of all-time card counters on BlackJack by FilGames, and I'm a High Roller on Governor of Poker 3.

I've reached the rank of Master on Chezz.  Chezz is like Chess online, but you don't have to wait your turn. You play in real time, against real opponents.  It makes for very intense Chess matches, because you're not just racing against a clock, but every moment that you let go by is a moment your opponent can be moving any or all of his pieces, depending on how long it takes you to make a move.

There is also an offline section, in which you play against artificially intelligent opponents.

By the way, I've done all this without spending any money on virtual currency, such as poker chips, gold pieces, or diamonds, et cetera.  Also, I've placed in the Top Ten on Luxor Blackjack's Leaderboard above many people who are at higher Levels than me, which enables them to play in a tournament I'm not ever allowed to play in, because I'm only at Level 15, and it requires Level 17 to even see its name, let alone play in it.

I can't say that about Paradise Bay by King, where I've spent dozens of U.S. Dollars on virtual purple diamonds in order to obtain virtual pets, such as a pair of koalas and a panda; I recently unlocked and adopted a pair of pink flamingos.  I've reached the maximum Level, too, which is 80.

I use these games to advertize my website.  In Paradise Bay, I have spelled out the U.R.L. [Universal Resource Locator] to my website, and the date of its last update.

On Google Play and Dragon Soul, I actually changed my name to AChristmasCaroldotUS and USChristmasCarol, respectively.

Unfortunately, Dragon Soul is taking their game down.  I'm not sure why.

I hate it that games often require online connections to play them, now-a-days.  In some cases, it makes the C.D.'s obsolete, when the online support evaporates.  I still pay early versions of Warhammer 40,000; once they required an online connection to play, I stopped upgrading.

On Dragon Soul, I created a line-up of Heroes which I think resemble characters from Charles Dickens' novel, A Christmas Carol:

A tophat-and-ducktail wearing Plague Mogul is my "Scrooge."

A Raging Revenant is my Jacob Marley.

A blonde Dragon Lady in golden armor is my Ghost of Christmas Past

A giant Orc Priest is my Ghost of Christmas Present.

A Skeleton King is my Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

A pair of Stepladder Brothers are my Bob and Tim Cratchit.

A Shadow Assassin is my Mrs. Cratchit.

A Plant Soul is my Martha Cratchit.

An Ancient idol is my Peter Cratchit.

A Goblin Trio is my Belinda and two other young Cratchits.

A Huntress with white war paint is my charwoman.

A Groovy Druid is my laundress.

A magician and a thief are my Fred and his wife.

Rotbeard the Pirate is my Old Joe.

Anyway, I'm proud to say that I'm one of the best virtual blackjack players in the world.  How many people do you know whose names you can find on a constantly updated leaderboard, which welcomes competition from all over the World-Wide Web?  And I'm on two of them.

La Libertad:  Where have you traveled since our last interview?

William:  We've returned to Virginia Beach a few times.  We went to South of the Border and Myrtle Beach for our "Meeting Anniversary."

Best of all, we went to the Biltmore for Christmas, 2018!

La Libertad:  What links would you like to share?



And the following U.R.L.s, which redirect themselves to that site:

I am also proud to introduce my SoundCloud, and associated playlists:
(audio adaptations of the novel)
(Christmas Carols played predominantly on a violin, by masters of the violin such as Ji Hae Park and my fellow Utahn, Lindsey Stirling)

(Decrease the surplus population!  Songs that make you feel like "topping" yourself...)
(Throw down the gauntlet, drop the gloves, and take off the mittens!  This is where I intend to collect one hundred forty-four of the best Christmas songs ever recorded!)

La Libertad:  What else, if anything, would you like to tell our readers?

William:  I invented a new mixed drink for National Margarita Day:  The Purple Iguana!  A margarita spiked with (preferably) one hundred percent cranberry juice...

On a more somber note, Albert Finney recently passed away.  He was the star of one of my favorite adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge (1970).  As his character would say, "Thank you very much!  Thank you very much!  Thank you very, very, very much!"

Photo and interview by Libertad Green

No comments:

Post a Comment