Friday, December 24, 2010

Yule tuneage

I know it's EXTREMELY last minute to be recommending Christmas music, but I feel that I've been rather negligent in posting this month and I feel like if I crank out a post now (and I got a coupla minutes in which I can) than it should be Christmas themed , dammit.

Tonight is my family annual Christmas Eve party and I made some playlists of some of the very bestest from my not-too-shabby compendium of Christmas tunes. I got a few new tracks (noted with *) and added them in there. So, even though 98% of my family won't even notice it, the soundtrack to this soiree is going to be off da HO- HO HOOOK! (Feeble. I apologize.)

2010 Xmas mix (Part I)

1. We Need A Little Christmas (Percy Faith & Choristers)
2. Christmas is Coming (Harry Belafonte)
3. Caroling, Carolling (Nat King Cole)-- I've never liked Nat King Cole's ubiquitous Christmas song ("chestnuuuuts roasting blah blah blahdee blaaah..etc") but this one I *LOVE*
4. Shake Hands with Santa Claus (Louis Prima)
5. We Wish You the Merriest (Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby) --2 of the smoothest smoothies ever. What an incomparable pair, am I right??
6. Home for the Holidays (Perry Como)-- it probably makes me seem about 75 yrs old, but eff it..I love Perry Como. Pretty much everything he ever did. Yep. Can't deny it.
7. Happy Holidays (funky remix w/ Bing Crosby vocal)
8.Christmas Conga (Cyndi Lauper)
9. Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney & Wings)
10. Christmas is a Time to Say I Love you (Billy Squier)
11. Last Christmas ( Wham!) -- I read something about a poll in Bulgaria this year asking for "the most ANNOYING Christmas Song" And they voted this one #1. Which proves what I've always said ---Bulgarians know NOTHING about good music. Really? Bulgaria?? This song is terrific, and all you Bulgarians are so jaded and nasty.
12 The Man With All the Toys (The Beach Boys) -- I like, when this one is playing, to just sing along to one of the background parts. There's one Boy (probably Dennis, but I can't be sure) that just regularly sings out "Boh!" throughout. (check here for a memory refresher) That's the part I sing along to. It amuses me..for some odd reason..
13. I've Got my Love to Keep Me Warm (Dean Martin)-- a great song...and its greatness is exponentially multiplied when you've got Dino (love him) crooning it...
14. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Barenaked Ladies)
15. Little Drummer Boy (Lou Rawls)-- I had never been a huge fan of this one, but Rawls gives it some soul and I dig it..
16. Good Christian Men Rejoice (Robert Shaw Chorale)
17. I Saw Three Ships (some chorus)
18. Good King Wenceslas (some other chorus)--I've always loved Good King W.
19. Ding Dong Merrily on High (Cambridge chorus)
20. Here We Come A-Carolling (Perry Como) see above note re: Perry Como
21. O Tannenbaum (orchestra & St Killian boys choir)
22. Hey Santa ! (Chris Isaak)

Xmas mix 2010 (part II)

1. O Come , O Come Emmanuel (Chichester Cathedral Choir)*
2. O Holy Night (Avril LaVigne)---and , NO, she doesn't get all punk-lite with it. It's pretty lovely, I think..
3.Angels We Have Heard on High (Cambridge Choir)
4. Joy to the World (London Symphony Orchestra) this song is nice, for sure, but strangely it is about 5x louder than any other track. When it starts up, you gotta LUNGE for that stereo remote..
5. The Holly & the Ivy (Medieval Babes) *
6. I Saw 3 Ships (Cyndi Lauper) -yeah, I repeated it on both mixes, but it is different versions of the song. The other one is more ethereal sounding, Lauper's has more of a primitive, Olde English festival feel to it..
7. Jingle Bells (Barenaked Ladies)*-- new acquisition for 2010. Y'know, it's sometimes tough to make a decision on iTunes, when you only have 30 seconds of a song to judge. But in this instance, they picked the right 30 seconds to offer up as a sample. When I heard them work "Batman smells..Robin laid an egg" into the chorus..well...I was SOLD. Though I was surprised to later hear that it starts out all slow & plaintive & earnest (but it does get around to the Batman chorus by the end...kooky, eh?)
8. The Marvelous Toy (Peter, Paul, & Mary)
9. Sugar Rum Cherry (Duke Ellington & band)--this is a swingin' reboot of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy
10 You're a Mean one Mr Grinch ( Thurl Ravenscroft-- a lot of people think Boris Karloff did that song.. and while Karloff did do the voice of Grinch--in the speaking parts-- Ravenscroft did this song. Thurl Ravenscroft is a name worth committing to the memory banks... I mean, firstly, THAT NAME...innately rad, am I right? But Thurl was also the voice of Tony the Tiger ("They're Grrrrreat!") and he did a lot of work for Disney. If you've ever been to The Country Bear Jamboree (if you haven't...I am so sad for you.) he did the voices for the bison head that hangs on the theater wall)
11 Drunk On Christmas (Jimmy Fallon) * --Jimmy just put this out this year. Love it. Love him.
12 Sleigh Ride (Johnny Mathis)-- nobody sings this song like Johnny Mathis. The mo-fo OWNS it...
13. Must Be Santa (Brave Combo)--hyper Christmas polka. What's not to love?
14. Wonderful Day (the Chipmunks)-- some people are annoyed by the them I say...move to Bulgaria. The Chipmunks kick arse (though I don't like their recent movie incarnations)
15. I'm Gettin' Nuttin' For Christmas (Barry Gordon)
16. Baby It's Cold Outside (Ann Margaret & Al Hirt)
17 Christmas Wrapping (the Waitresses)
18.We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Booker T & the MGs)
19. I Wish It Was Christmas Today (Julian Casablancas) --this is a great cover...though, I like the original on SNL a smidge more. YOU be the judge, folks---

^^ I was searching YouTube for an official music video, but there doesn't seem to be one. I don't think this fan-made one really fits the song, but 'tis a montage of freaked-out-by-Santa tots (another holiday institution I cherish) so that's why I picked it. Is it just me, or were Santas of yesteryear (like the 1920s-1970s) scarier than modern Santas? I think it's because they had shabby looking costumes. And these screaming li'l moppets just knew ("What the hell? Santa isn't poor!!")

The original "Wish it Was Christmas Today" You should see me do the Tracy Morgan part on this. I am brilliant at it. BRILLIANT!!






Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today, my coworker Paul emailed me-- "Whaddya think? Should I send out Krampus cards for the holidays??" Well, I am ashamed to say I had no clue who/what Krampus is/ was. I don't know why I should feel ashamed...there's no reason I should be more educated than your average Jane in regards to European Christmas lore of yore. Nevertheless, I felt well, maybe not ashamed, but "inadequate" is probably the more apt adjective. Anyway for some irrational, emotion-based reason, I didn't write back "Pardon? Who is Krampus?" or something similarly honest. Instead, I looked it up on Wikipedia and then wrote back as if I was savvy all along.

Take momentary detour and read the article I tracked down... be thorough...don't skip the stuff about Zwarte Piet or Knecht Ruprecht...that's good stuff. Cryptozoology meets Christmas--I LOVE it!

Ok, the #1 reason I felt inadequate was that it was *Paul* I was talking to . Paul, whom I've dubbed "know-it-all-Paul". He pretty much knows EVERYTHING. ...probably everything except for the fact that I call him "know-it-all Paul" behind his back. Not widely... only to a select few folks that don't know him. I just don't wanna give you the wrong idea...even if the guy makes me feel comparatively stoooopid, I do NOT trash talk him around the office. I try to abstain from inter-office trash talk entirely. It's SO gauche. On rare occasion maybe, but only when someone really deserves it. But I have veered wildly off topic (only 'cause I was fretting that I'd diminished your good opinion of me... intolerable notion, that..)

So I'm usually at peace with Paul's it makes for stimulating banter. And I do an OK job of intellectually keeping up. In some areas--for instance:science, math, politics-- I am resigned to being behind. But THE KRAMPUS is just the sort of thing I make it my biz to be knowledgeable about. But I knew NONE of that stuff... Krampus, Zwarte Piet, Belsnickel, etc. The name Le Pere Fouettard seemed familiar...but only vaguely. Maaaan, I have been missing out!!

I especially like this bit about old Knecht Ruprecht customs--

"In some of the Ruprecht traditions, the children would be summoned to the door to perform tricks, such as a dance or singing a song to impress upon Santa and Ruprecht that they were indeed good childrewho performed well were given a gift or some treats. Those who performed badly enough or had committed other misdeeds throughout the year were put into Ruprecht's sack and taken away, variously n. Those who performed badly would be beaten soundly by Servant Ruprecht, and those to Ruprecht’s home in the

Black Forest to be consumed later, or to be tossed into a river. In other versions the children must be asleep, and would awake to find their shoes filled with either sweets, coal, or in some cases a stick. Over time, other customs developed: parents giving kids who misbehaved a stick instead of treats and saying that it was a warning from Nikolaus that "unless you improve by Christmas

day[citation needed], Nikolaus' black servant Ruprecht will come and beat you with the stick and you won't get any Christmas gifts." Often there would be variations idiosyncratic to individual families "

Dance, little moppet, dance! Oh, and don't let that DARK ROBED STRANGER WITH A SWITCH affect your performance!! Dark stuff.

THOUGHT: How exciting and epic "The Night Before Christmas" mighta been!! Picture it: "Mama in her Kerchief" and "I in my cap" have to battle a scraggly magical St Nick sidekick hobo guy who was going to abscond with their kids in a wicker backpack??

I leave you with this Krampus celebrating vid. It makes me even more ashamed ...if a crappy, insignifico cable channel like G4 was Krampus-aware, I should've been too!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

buzzzz bzzzzz

It’s almost like my desk calendar knows that I’ve been pondering whether or not to get another Forgotten English desk calendar for 2011 or somethin’ entirely new… since it finally gave me something interesting (in my opinion , anyway) after days & weeks of yawners.

The “bees in the brain” definition caught my attention because it uses the term “fou” and I didn’t know WTF that was. And after looking it up, I found it very useful little monosyllable …Scots’ lingo for drunk or French for “crazy”…either way, Little Bunny Fou Fou is starting to make sense to me now. I used to have trouble with the notion of a little rabbit unleashing such a swath of senseless unprovoked violence (aside from the rabbit of Caerbannog, it doesn’t fit in with my concept of that animal) but if said bunny was drunk drunk than that might explain things somewhat. Or if he was crazy crazy. Or crazy drunk.

I also like that bit about breaking tragic news to bees... even if the instrux are contradictory. I think, if I am put in this position, I am going to try a loud whisper…

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Precisely WHY Facebook was put on this Earth

No need to see “The Social Network” to find out this “why”

The FB raison d'ĂȘtre came to me all epiphany-like and I’m gonna lay it on ya now….

Yesterday, while out walking, I saw a log-hauling truck. The body of this truck (or should I say “cab”? It was the front part of the truck that was not a stack of logs) was MAUVE. This struck me as a somewhat remarkable hue for such a vehicle and I thought this big rig MUST have started out its life hauling Isotoner gloves or ladies’ shoes or something.. Then last night I told a friend about this log truck sighting (told her the ol’ fashioned way, using my larynx) and I found the reporting ….anticlimactic. It’s a rather distinct sensation really..I should know, as it happens to me often ( ‘tis the scourge of all self-aware loquacious types everywhere)

Have you felt this? You are sharing an anecdote, or more likely, an anecdotal observation, and you just feel it losing its value mid-tell. As you speak, you are thinking ---this insight /intel really did seem more noteworthy within the confines of my noggin … nobody is going to “get this” .And yet you forge ahead, with a sort of well-can't-unring-this-bell-fatalism.

I should have typed that log truck episode into the status field of my FB page, is what I shoulda done. And really, with that “What’s on your mind??” prompt they have there, aren’t they rather inviting that sort of inconsequential blather?? Now, making it a wall-posting will NOT magically transform my mauve log truck news into newsworthy news BUT….everybody’s FB homepage is invariably overrun with “TGIF!!!!!” or “Headed out to the drycleaners J ” or “Just had a GREAT ham sandwich” So I’d be purged of this cranium clutter, and who cares if it is enfeebled upon externalization… ’tis only dropping a micro-droplet into an ocean of blaah-blaah-blaaaaah, so there is no call to fret whatsoever, y’see??

Oh and, by the way, I haven’t logged on to Facebook since the mauve log-truck encounter, so that tale is totally a BLOG EXCLUSIVE!! Oh, you lucky readership, you!!!