Here is Tom Lehrer, one of the funny voices I heard a lot while I was growing up (my parents were big fans), singing A Christmas Carol, a still-apt poke at the true meaning of the season: money.
I included a cover of this song for our annual Christmas mixtape ... sung by Daniel Radcliffe, no less. (And, it's probably worth noting, the rest of the cast of How To Succeed in Business WIthout Really Trying; the tune appeared this year on the annual Broadway Cares fundraiser for AIDS relief.)
Radcliffe is actually a fan of Lehrer, and has demonstrated this notably in a Graham Norton episode on the BBC in which he raced through Lehrer's The Elements. The YouTube clip has been seen well over two million times ... with the Harry Potter fans probably squeaking by the Lehrer fan base, I would imagine!
I was in the mall after work, catching up with the family after parking the car. We were headed out to a movie.
On my way, I felt this slap - a back of the hand that came up against my right cheek - and then saw this woman in front of me, saying this: "My God, how are ya!! Oh, you're not who I thought you were."
She might then have said "sorry" or something, and off she went.
My skin was still stinging as I figured out what had just happened.
And of course my mind then wondered, um, how many people exactly out there resemble me, even from the side or from behind?
Lindsey Buckingham's solo single from 1981 is the song of the day. Despite what the video implies, Buckingham played almost everything on the song (one of the guests is Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood, who played a drumbeat and recreates it in this spectacularly dated clip).
It's not Coruscant, but Times Square is a decent place to draw a crowd for a special event; after all, one is always there! For the launch of the Star Wars: The Old Republic game, dozens of folks in costume showed up and ... well, you can watch for yourself!
Martha showed me this video earlier today, and it was so funny, I've been back to see it three times. A few things that seem to be the case: it was shot years ago, and the children here are now grown up; the little girl had not sung at all during rehearsals and was told to be heard during the real performance; the older girl with the halo in the back of the Nativity scene posted the video, recognizing its great humour.
Each December, beginning in the year our son was born, I've been making a mixtape for family and close friends of Christmas tunes. What started as a one-off stocking stuffer has turned into, well, a thing ... although probably it's better to call it a tradition.
Actually, it's fun to do. We sift through many, many songs (I have hundreds sitting in an iTunes folder) and each year I pick up more, just to complicate things. New releases this year, incidentally, include the tracks by She & Him, Jack Johnson, Joan Osborne, David Ian and Carole King.
This year's set includes some songs that have been on the long list for a long time; the Gary Burton tune, for instance, is on a jazz compilation that's one of the first Christmas albums I ever bought.
The mix is, as always, all over the place. Where else could you put Luscious Jackson next to Tony Bennett? There's some indie pop, made-for-martinis jazz, some Sixties soul (the Funk Brothers were the house band at Motown) and loungewear. There's even a song that has nothing to do with Christmas or any holiday, but their name after all is the Decemberists, they put the word "angel" in a title and I got the idea after seeing it on a Christmas anthology.
I love stumbling across unexpected chestnuts, and the one this year is Daniel Radcliffe singing a cover of A Christmas Carol - not by Charles Dickens, but Tom Lehrer, whose satirical songs I learned at a very young age from my dad's stereo.
Here are the tunes this year.
She & Him: The Christmas Song Vince Guaraldi Trio: Linus And Lucy Jimmy Buffett: Christmas Island Billy Paul Williams: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town Carole King: My Favorite Things Joan Osborne: Angels We Have Heard on High Jack Johnson: In The Morning Gary Burton: O Tannenbaum Emmylou Harris: The First Noel David Ian: The Christmas Waltz Duke Ellington: Sugar Rum Cherry (from the Nutcracker) Chuck Berry: Run Rudolph Run Darlene Love: Marshmallow World The Beach Boys: Little Saint Nick The Funk Brothers: Winter Wonderland Luscious Jackson: Let It Snow Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Big Band: Silver Bells The Pretenders: 2000 Miles Michael Bublé: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: Ain't No Chimneys in the Project The Alarm: Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Bruce Cockburn: Joy to the World Annie Lennox: In the Bleak Midwinter The Decemberists: Angel, Won't You Call Me King Curtis: What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? Daniel Radcliffe (and the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying): A Christmas Carol
We posed for a family photo a couple of weeks ago - a bunch of them, and with extended family members on Martha's side. It actually went quite well, and the results are handsome. I'm not why we don't do it more often, whether it's at Christmas or not; we certainly have not had the difficulty that, say, the Simpsons encounter! (The image above is from last Sunday's Christmas-themed episode, which was as sharp and joke-filled as the series has ever been.)
Absolutely Fabulous debuted on the BBC in 1992; CBC aired it later, quite late at night, but worth setting the VCR for. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley have revived their characters as the ultimate hard-drinking fashionistas here and there, but nothing in the last seven years.
Until this week. The BBC airs the first of a new set of episodes on Christmas Day. It'll be fun to see where things go, especially since the girls are more than showing their age and Eddy's wise daughter Saffy would have to be in her 30s now.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.