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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sounds of the Season, Part 1

So the Thanksgiving family visit is over. The turkey’s been devoured, the leftovers turned into soup. We’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Now the Christmas season really begins. Bells, tinsel, lights on rain gutters, the Grinch and the jolly old elf are all here for the big day. And of course, so is holiday music.

I’m a big fan of the season in general. And I truly enjoy the music. Somehow it’s doesn’t really feel like Christmas until I hear some favorite classics. Such as the Singing Dogs rendition of Jingle Bells. Or maybe Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. OK, maybe not that one.

I do have some real favorites. Yes, the dogs really are one of them. As you’ll see by the list below, I tend to favor more contemporary songs for the most part. There’s no real order to the list, and I’m not sure I’d go so far as to call it a “Top 10,”  but it’s not really Christmas to me without these.  Copyright restrictions prevent me from including links,  but none of these are hard to find.

1. Step Into Christmas, Elton John.

A good way to kick off the party, even if most  folks under 40 don’t know what a turntable is.

2. I Believe in Father Christmas, Greg Lake.

A haunting, perhaps a bit cynical , take on the holiday and its commercialization.

3.  Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You, Billy Squier.

A great idea, and a great singalong favorite.

4.  Please Come Home For Christmas, Eagles.

A classic lover’s lament.

5.  Snoopy’s Christmas, The Royal Guardsmen

Ah, the spirit of the holiday. Almost brings a tear to my eye every time.

6. Ay Ay Ay, It’s Christmas, Ricky Martin

OK, fine, roll your eyes — I do too. But my wife loves this one, so on the list it goes.

7.  Silver Bells, various artists.

This is  the most traditional song you’ll find here. This was my Mom’s favorite Christmas song. Reminds me of her.

8.  Feliz Navidad, Jose Feliciano.

Just a happy little expression of the holidays, in two languages.

9.  The Rebel Jesus, Jackson Browne.

A reflection on the meaning of the season, but hardly in a traditional sense.

10.  Happy Xmas (War Is Over), John Lennon.

A timeless masterpiece.

So that’s my list. How about yours? Share your favorite holiday songs in the comments and I’ll post them for Part 2.  Until then, the dogs are barking and the bells are jingling….

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Shopping on Thanksgiving? No.

I’ve written before about the loss of Thanksgiving to the great commercial steamroller of Christmas, Inc. And I really wasn’t planning to rant about it again, because I generally don’t like to bore my many readers with repetition (especially when I have newer, better ways to bore you). But recent events compel me to rant yet again about the creeping disappearance of Thanksgiving.

Black Friday — the day many retailers start to see black ink instead of red on their balance sheets — has become an explosion of pent-up pre-Christmas consumer spending for some years now. And that’s fine. We spend one day giving thanks for what we have, and the next pushing and shoving to get what we want. Capitalism at its finest. I have been known to participate in such fine madness myself on occasion.

But an increasing number of retailers this year have pushed back the doorbuster specials and blowout prices to as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. I find that appalling.

Are we Americans so caught up in our lust for the latest electronics, toys and kitchen appliances that we can’t manage to take even ONE single day to celebrate our many blessings? Honestly, for everyone reading this, no matter your circumstances, you are better off, in a material sense, than probably 98 percent of the world.

Don’t believe me? Try watching a TV show. The Amazing Race takes contestants around the world in a quest to win $1 million. In each country they visit, the contestants typically must perform a task native to the country and culture they’re in.

Two weeks ago, the players traveled to Bangladesh. The country has roughly half the population of the United States, but has a population density of nearly 2,800 people per square mile. Know what that number is for the U.S.? Try 87.4 folks per square mile. Tell me that’s not something to be thankful for.

Or consider this: we just had an incredibly divisive presidential election in the United States. A lot of people said things for or against a particular candidate quite vehemently. Try arguing against the official candidate (singular) in China. Freedom of speech is something to be thankful for. So is democracy.

On a more individual level, we all have things to be thankful for every day. Family, friends, good health, a roof over our heads, sufficient food and clean water, too many things to list, really.

Take away any one of those things, and how important is the latest i-Gadget in the bigger scheme of things? Is a single day to reflect on our good fortune without shopping too much to ask?

Come on folks, slow the consumer train down just a little. There’ll be plenty of time for shopping on Friday. Keep Thanksgiving as it was meant to be — noncommercial.

A Very Special Day

Did you know it’s NATIONAL SAXOPHONE DAY?

The Walrus does! And you know what that means:

Epic Sax Walrus!

What? That’s not enough sax for such a special day, you say?

Got ya covered. Here’s the best, the late, great Clarence Clemons on a classic Springsteen track. Enjoy!

Sherry Darling!

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