All I want for Christmas this year

My wife asked me for my Christmas wish list. I want the new Hess toy truck, and…

I was stumped. I didn’t have a book I wanted that would sit on my “I really need to read that” pile. There’s always music but I don’t always listen to what I have already.

Unfortunately, what I REALLY want is a country that believes in encouraging people to cast their ballots and one person, one vote, rather than restricting the franchise and gerrymandering their districts.

I want a country that values our natural resources, rather than ignoring climate change and despoiling the earth for profit. “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, ” as it says in Numbers.

I want a country that doesn’t elect known sexual predators to high office.

I want a country that welcomes the immigrant and appreciate the strength that diversity brings to the country, rather than promoting bigotry and divisiveness. “Do not mistreat foreigners who are living in your land.” (Leviticus 19:33)

I want a country that provides a living wage and a secure safety net, with access to resources for those who need it, rather than tax breaks for those with private planes. “If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.” (Isaiah 58:10)

I want a country that believes in transparency of government, not backroom dealings with lobbyists.

I want a country that works for peace, not goads others into war. “Let there be peace on earth,” and all that.

You get the idea.

And the really annoying thing about my Christmas wish list is that there is not anything that will fit on Santa’s sleigh.

Even worse, in order for me to be able to get the presents I want, I, and a whole slew of of other folks will have to work, to fight to make it happen.

What kind of presents are these anyway? They are the presents that require us to be present.

Ugh, activism. OK, then, let’s see how close I can get to matching up with my wishlist.

But I still want the Hess truck.

Merry Christmas.

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Music throwback Christmas all over again

Here’s a great thing about when someone puts labels on posts on the Blogger platform: you can access Jaquandor’s Daily Dose of Christmas, not just for this year, but for several years back. You’re welcome.

A couple new tracks from this year:

Indigo Christmas -Theresa Olin, written by Linda Bonney Olin

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – MonaLisa Twins

Away in a Manger – Pentatonix

You Ain’t Gettin’ S#!t (For Xmas) – Emily “Boo Boo” Miller

Some random older cuts I’ve come across:

Christmas Rappin’- Kurtis Blow, 1979

The Christians and The Pagans – Dar Williams

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love, from her recurring appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love, from her recurring appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman

We Need A Little Christmas – Angela Lansbury, from the Broadway musical MAME

Winter Song – Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson

Chrissy The Christmas Mouse – Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor

The 12 Gifts of Christmas – Allan Sherman

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

A Shadows of Knight mashup of a Christmas carol and a Dave Brubeck hit

Shepherd’s Hey by Percy Grainger, which I have on some holiday record or other

Plus: Coverville 1197: The 2017 Christmas Cover Show

Finally, some tunes I tend to play every year:

Every Valley – Handel’s Messiah, A Soulful Celebration; it was such a great surprise

The Christmas Song – Nat King Cole; my late mom was a huge fan of Nat

White Christmas – the Drifters; not just the song but this particular animation I love

Linus and Lucy – Vince Guaraldi, from a Charlie Brown Christmas

The Coventry Carol – Alison Moyet, from the very first A Very Special Christmas album in 1987

Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty, from the second A Very Special Christmas album in 1992; I can’t believe he’s gone

Winter Snow – Booker T. and the MG’S (at 2:30) – Silver Bells is OK, but Winter Snow, which I first head on that first Stax-Volt box set, really gets to me

What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder; there are quite a few Motown Christmas albums and this is my favorite cut, the last song on the Someday at Christmas album from 1967

The Bells of Christmas -Julie Andrews; the version I have on vinyl skips the unnecessary instrumentation from about 1:08 to 2:02, which appeared on an album from Firestone tires in the 1960s. Oh, here it is at 17:05

X is for Xmas: St. Nicholas Day to Russian Christmas

In a recent sermon, one of my pastors noted that he had received a circular for holiday shopping in September of this year. He promptly threw it into the recycling bin. That would have bugged me too.

A friend of mine posted on Facebook on November 16 that a certain local radio station was already playing Christmas music. I commented, “Thanks for the warning. Will avoid.”

On December 6, though, I started playing at least parts of my now vast collection of holiday CDs. It’s because it’s St. Nicholas Day in parts of Europe.

And I keeping playing it until January 6. After all there are 12 days of Christmas. It’ll be Three Kings Day in places like Puerto Rico, and Christmas in the Eastern Orthodox church. Since I grew up in a largely Slavic neighborhood in Binghamton, NY, most people called it “Russian Christmas.”

I should note, however, that there are seasonal things I do enjoy even in November. Arthur’s array of ads from New Zealand and the UK don’t irritate me as much as the American-made versions, maybe because they’re generally so well crafted. Or perhaps I just find them quaint. Here are some more ads.

Advent: Hearing God in a Female Voice

Ha! An article about having a “Stress-free” holiday included such wisdom as “You don’t have to make everything from scratch.” Good to know, but that wasn’t happening anyway.

Do you wish “Merry Christmas” to a rabbi?

This caught my attention in a positive light, though it’s happening throughout the year: Alexandria [Louisiana] church holds community feeding day. “Reverend Roger Green said the event is one of his favorite parts of the job.” No relation to me, as far as I know.

Now I Know: The Forgotten History of Jingle Bells

JOKES!
Where did Frosty put his money?
In the snow bank. All his assets were frozen!

What is Santa’s favorite sweater?
His Fleece Navidad

Seasons Greetings

For ABC Wednesday

Circular question answering New York Erratic

happinessrunsAnd in an act that defies logic, I am now answering questions that New York Erratic answered for me, even though I gave them to her, based on questions Lisa posted, and which Dustbury also answered… Oh never mind.

1. What is your dream vacation spot and why?

It would be a place by water, preferably running water, like a river or a waterfalls, because I love water; maybe it’s the Pisces in me. It would be neither too hot or too cold. Maybe Continue reading

Advent/Christmas stories and songs

Random FB pic

MUSIC:

Jaquandor has been offering Your Daily Dose of Christmas.

About.com’s Top 100 Christmas songs

The Bells of Christmas by Julie Andrews from a Firestone tire LP I still own.

Nat King Cole -The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)

Snow from White Christmas (Bing Crosby, et al).

The Dream Isaiah Saw, plus the backstory of the song, the lyrics and another rendition.

Tamale Christmas by Joe King Carrasco

SamuraiFrog’s contributions Continue reading

My iconoclastic Christmas

A couple years ago, a very good friend of mine, someone who has known me for decades, said I was an iconoclast. I suppose that’s true; other people have said over the years that I march to the beat of a different drummer.

Most people listen to “Christmas music” between Thanksgiving (or earlier) and Christmas. Not another note after that, because the tree has already been literally thrown to the curb. I put “Christmas music” in quotes because so much of it has nothing to do with Christmas. Certainly all the secular songs about Santa and reindeer are about Christmas. And some of the religious stuff, though, since we are in Advent, not Christmastime, you may not have noticed here are more about the baby having been born than anticipation of the event.

(One of my favorite podcasters mused whether River by Joni Mitchell is a Christmas song. I say: absolutely. It speaks of cutting down trees, and reindeer; it may express ANXIETY over the holiday – they’ve made whole movies about THAT – but it’s no less applicable.)

Then there are those songs that just have to do with cold weather. Now these have NOTHING to do with Christmas whatsoever: Jingle Bells, upon which River is based; Jingle Bell Rock; Frosty the Snowman; Winter Wonderland; and especially Baby, It’s Cold Outside. But try playing Sleigh Ride or Let It Snow in early February; people would think you are crazy.

I tolerate listening to the music starting on November 22, which is the earliest date Thanksgiving can occur – it was on November 28 this year, the latest it can take place. But I don’t start playing tunes until December 6, recognizing some European tradition, and don’t stop until January 6, at the end of the 12 days of Christmas. Hope that doesn’t weird you out.
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The American Family Association’s Naughty Or Nice List And The Vapidity Of The ‘War On Christmas’

The Beatles reunion, and our Christmas tree

More questions from western New York’s finest blogger, Jaquandor:

If Lennon hadn’t been shot in 1980, do you think there would eventually have been a Beatles reunion? If so, what form? A one-shot performance at something like Live-Aid? A new album?

John and Yoko’s album Double Fantasy comes out in the fall of 1980. It does all right [not as well as it did in response to Lennon’s death]. They put out Milk and Honey a year later; ditto. They tour for a few months.

Around 1982, George, whose career was in a bit of a downturn – no All Those Years Ago hit single – plays on a John and Yoko album. John and George play on Ringo’s comeback album.
Continue reading