Christmas Music

I love Christmas music. It’s a little point of contention with my family that as soon as Thanksgiving is over my Pandora or Spotify stations and playlists are pretty much dedicated to Christmas music. As the Girls have gotten older, they are not as into as they were as little ones. That’s okay, it’s to be expected. Surly teen years and all.

My tastes in Christmas music are pretty broad. If you know me this isn’t surprising. I love the classics. I think I still have my Gene Autry Sings, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” album that I listed to as a little boy. My parents had a few Time-Life Christmas Collections that Dad would pull out every year for the turntable. Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, the different orchestras that recorded standards, Burl Ives. Then there was The New Christy Minstrels (I’m still not even sure about this enormous group of very happy looking sweater-wearing, sleigh-riding folks. I honestly don’t think that album ever got played in our house. It looks like it’d be a fun album, but again, I have no memory of ever actually hearing it to make a judgment on the music.

As I was entering my teen years in the early 80’s, I was introduced to some new classics. The world before the Internet was not an easy time to hear new, interesting Christmas music. Maybe 96 Rock would play The Kinks, “Father Christmas” every once in awhile, and that was pretty exciting. Of course, one of the greatest musical moments in my life, and so many other people a certain age now, happened the magical year of 1984. Band Aid’s, “Do They Know it’s Christmas?“. I could not get enough of this. So many of my favorite bands and singers were on this. The video made me so happy! Seeing all those stars together having such a good time, playing and singing together. That they raised money to try to send relief to Ethiopia was fantastic. Sadly, there’s speculation on where the money actually ended up.

I’ve heard, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” countless times. Great song. For my ears, it’s hard to beat Andy Williams’ version. I am a bit confused though by a line in the song: “There’ll be scary ghost stories…” Why? Why are we telling ghost stories at Christmastime? Is that an allusion to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? I’ve always wondered how that line ended up in there.

The other classic that raises a question in my mind is from “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. There are lots of good versions of this one, pick your favorite. My question is what kind of disturbed individual includes the line, “Oh what a laugh it would have been, if Daddy had only seen Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night!” Now, obviously, the sly wink and nod is that of course it’s Daddy in the first place that’s kissing Mommy. That’s all good and fine, but here’s the problem – this song is told from the perspective of a little kid. They are a little disturbed, maybe, that their mom is kissing some other guy, even if that guy is Santa, but beyond that they’re thinking how funny it’d be if their dad saw this kiss. In the Jackson 5’s version you hear young Michael trying to get his brothers to believe him. “I did! I did see Mommy kissing Santa and I’m gonna tell my daddy!” What do people think is going to happen when Daddy hears that Mommy’s been kissing another dude?  Cue up The Ramones, “Merry Christmas, I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight

I’ll wrap this up with some of my more recent favorites. Obviously Mariah ends up here. You’d have to be a pretty serious Scrooge to not love this song. I’m not even going to put the title because it’s just so obvious. I will include this video though because it makes me pretty happy every time I see it. Also, the piano player on Mariah’s album is phenomenal. His playing absolutely takes the songs up at least 5 notches. Kelly Clarkson has gifted us with her fantastic, “Underneath the Tree” that I somehow just heard for the first time this year. The Shins covered another one of my favorites a few years ago and put a very Beach Boys’ spin to “Wonderful Christmastime.” Some people can’t stand Macca’s song and those people are wrong. The cover brings three things I love together, Paul McCartney, Beach Boys’ song structure/harmony, and The Shins. I’ll leave off with a song that I’m thankful I never had to relate to, but I look forward to hearing it every year, Dropkick Murphys “The Season’s Upon Us

Christmas songs are gifts bestowed upon us this time of year. Like all gifts, they illicit different responses from us. For the most part, they are given with love; although there are a few that I think were written, recorded, and released just to put a plant a horrible earworm. My gift to you is not including any of the ones of those that make my Naughty List, feel free to leave them in the comments if you want. Something to remember when you’re listening to these songs is that the majority of them were recorded in the summer or fall, a very un-Christmasy time of year. I read that Frank Sinatra had the recording studio decorated for Christmas and got them to crank up the AC so there’d be a bit of chill in the air.

I’ll leave you with a teen favorite, Billy Squier & the classic MTV crew reminding us that “Christmas is a time to say, ‘I Love You.'”  Merry Christmas to all and to all some great tunes

.oooooh

 

30-Day Writing Challenge, Day 13 – Your Ride to Work

trafficsource – wsbradio.com

Ugh, this is something I can talk easily about. Since I started working at Trinity I have been subjected to something that I have been able to avoid my entire working life – Interstate Commuting. I know, a lot of people have been commuting on the Interstate for a long, long time. Well, it’s still new for me, and it’s still taking me some getting used to.

I have gone a couple of different routes, and they pretty much take the same time, 30 minutes on the way to school, 45 minutes on the way home. Both of these are subject to change with the slightest shift in the wind.

The drive is made better with good music. Usually, that’s a CD, but sometimes it comes from 1690AM  WMLB . This is the most eclectic radio station in Atlanta. I’ll hear all kinds of music on my ride and that makes it better.

The things that make it bad are the bad drivers. And there are LOTS and LOTS of bad drivers. People coming off of 400 south that try to get over to the HOV lane immediately so they either slow down to dangerous speeds or completely stop. When one person does this it causes others to do it, too.

Another aggravating thing is slowing down going around a corner. Not the super sharp corner where 85 N splits off from 75 S. Just going around the corner. “OH! OH! It’s a corner, there might be something around it! I better stop!”

I would say that the traffic radio helps know what’s ahead, but my part of the drive isn’t the part of Atlanta traffic that causes the most jam-ups, so very rarely are the parts that I’m on given traffic updates.

I say all of this, but in all honesty, I know my commute isn’t that bad. I have heard friends say they have done 90-minute commutes both ways. BOTH WAYS! Holy schnikes! The other thing is that I have a job that I love that I go to Monday – Friday. It’s not like I’m making this drive to a place I can’t stand doing something that I loathe. It’s a wonderful place with amazing people doing something I love. So, in the end, I’ll take it.

These Things. THESE THINGS!!!!

So this guy, this cyclist, goes whizzing between two lanes of cars today as I’m on my way to the doctor and it made me kind of mad  really pissed me off.  I wanted to yell, “You’re the reason so many of us motorists hate cyclists!” but he was gone, and I’m trying to keep my fits of rage down to one a month, and there’s still a whole half of August left. So I have decided to do a Grumpy Man Post and give you a Top Ten Some Things Currently Annoying Me. 
[On a positive note, I couldn’t even come up with 10, so that’s good, right?]

1. Cyclists who think that the road is for their sole use.  I have friends who bike and I understand their desire/need to have space on the road.  There have been countless biking tragedies, and I don’t want that to happen to anyone else, but inevitably it will. I’ve written already about the thing cyclists do when they go through stop signs (“can’t break our momentum!”), but then there’s the move this ass did today: biking through two lanes of traffic.  Honestly, when they pass me on the right it kind of frustrates me because they’re moving and I’m sitting still, but it really comes down to the school rule of “No Cutting!” Of course after this guy goes between the cars, and we’re on Ponce de Leon heading toward Decatur by the way! After he goes between the cars he totally slows traffic down having to pedal up a hill.  The driver behind him was much more patient than many people would have been. Again, I will restate my claim that cyclists wearing their Cyclists Outfits are closer to Super Villains than Logo Sporting Bike Enthusiasts.

2. Imbecilic higher ups that are in charge of running things that are incapable of doing an even slightly good job because, well, because they’re imbeciles. Gah! I’d go on about this, but I don’t want to bring any trouble.

3. Puppy Pee & Poop.  We got a puppy recently. No, not Marley who made my good Top 10 list this Spring, but a puppy.  Padfoot is her name, and she is not on my bad list. Her waste; however, is.  Dammit, man, I don’t like cleaning up pee and poop in the house and apparently this is going to go on for 9 more months.  9 MORE MONTHS!!!!!


4. These damn mosquitoes! I can’t step outside with the puppy to keep number three from happening without coming away with three or more bites.  We pay a monthly service for our yard to be sprayed.  I can’t imagine what it would be like if we weren’t getting the yard sprayed.  Stinking blood sucking parasitic nuisances is what they are.

5. Presidential Election Politics.  Both parties are in the pockets of special interest groups that don’t have the best interests of the Country. Regardless of your political bent, the presidential election typically brings out people’s inner asshole, and quite frankly, it’s an inner thing because it’s not supposed to see the light of day.
Cartoon Credit

6. Dave FM changing its format from whatever it’s classified as to a Sports Talk station. Great. Less options in the already crappy ATL radio market. Here’s another plug for WMLB 1690 AM.  I wish the DJs would completely abandon their format and just spend their remaining time on the air playing what they want to hear, perhaps with a good healthy dose of listener requests.  I guess they can’t because they want to make sure that another Corporate Radio Station hires them to be the mouthpiece for the crappy format that they take on.

7. That I’m thinking about going off Facebook for a time so that I can get some art done.  I think I’ve already mentioned my robot painting.  Well, it’s still there with no new progress yet, and I can’t think of another way, other than greatly reducing the amount of time I spend on FB.  Some people don’t get why I’m on there as much as I am anyway, and that’s all right. When it’s On, it’s really a whole bunch of fun, but when it’s just Meh, then it’s just a time sucker.  So, I’m annoyed on two counts: 1. That I’m going to have to limit myself to get something done that I should want to do. 2. That FB’s been more Meh than On lately.

So, there you go.  These things are pissing me off recently. Now, on a scale of 1 – 10, none of them are really even a 10; although that cyclist came awfully close to scoring an 8.  What’s eating you these days?

Old Man Rant – Radio Today

I find it extremely disturbing that oftentimes when I am trying to find a song that came out before 2005 I have to go to 98.5 to hear it.  I find it more disturbing that on the weekends almost every radio station in Atlanta decides to have an 80s-90s Weekend.

The state of today’s radio is ridiculous.