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The Great Carols Conflict

This post appears out of order–it should have hit the net before the last post, but I’m apparently not clever enough to handle complex things like calendars.  I trust that you all are smart enough to figure it out, so here you go

My wife has a little less Christmas spirit than I do. More specifically: she’s sane. I am not.

While we both object to the ridiculous hastening of Christmas marketing–some national retailers were stocking Holiday displays in mid-October this year,– including the appearance of Christmas paraphernalia on store shelves, and Christmas commercials on TV and radio before we even carve our Jack-O-Lanterns, there is a small, silent part of me that responds to the commercial propaganda with an irresistible anticipation. My wife wants nothing to do with anything Christmas-related before about Dec 20. When Christmas carols begin warbling from the radio in mid-November she has been known to glower and mumble irritably.

My personal rules exclude carols from regular rotation until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (unless she awakes in a bad mood) because I recall fond memories of my mother rushing about wildly trying to catch up on all the holiday chores she let go until the very last minute while a succession of vinyl LPs blared Andy Williams, Steve & Edie, Bing Crosby and dozens of others on the old General Electric stereo—the fancy kind with the device on the center that let us pile on up to seven records that played one side of each in succession, after which the entire stack was flipped to play the b-sides inrecord player reverse order. That was the day, as a child, that I knew with certainty that Christmas was, at last, on the horizon—and possibly why we celebrate the holidays here from around November 25 until Twelfth Night.

We listen with some respect to my wife’s sensibility now—and it isn’t until the day after Thanksgiving, the dreaded Black Friday, that I generally  let the music fly.  Traditionally, the first Carol of the year is Steve & Edie’s Sleigh Ride,

followed by The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York—not spiritual tunes, but songs of joy, festivity, celebration, love, dreams, hopes, regrets and so many of the varied emotions that flood our hearts at this time of year.  My favorite Christmas carol pun, always sure to coax a few groans from the crowd: “Steve and Edie sleigh me.”  Get it?

I have about 40 Christmas recordings on CD dozens more on vinyl , and a growing variety of MP3 recordings– so many that some are barely played while others seem to invariably be called up again and again. Posts about my favorite Christmas albums are in the near future, so I won’t spoil that here, but for 5 weeks everyone around me is subjected to swing-heavy barrage of seasonal cheer. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the assault is relentless, but also cheerful and more than a little nostalgic.

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My Favorite Christmas Records Countdown #24-26

Once I’ve broken down my wife’s resistance to 24/7 Christmas Music, I jam the old Sony 200-disc carousel full of Holiday CDs in slots 175-200.  The day may come when the hearts of men fail and they listen to streaming Christmas Music but, as Aragorn said, “Today is not that day!”  That’s right, I’ve got a lot of Christmas vinyl, too.  Oh,yeah.

Last year, I typed my way through an album a day, and I’m not all that excited to repost them, but it’s a good reference if you’re building a collection, so I’ll be linking to a few, every few days, and add some new finds mixed in here and there. Click on the links imbedded in each album title for more.

#26 Now That’s What I Call Christmas Volume 1. Anthology by Various Artists

519TADK3A7L.__PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__I flip-flopped #26 and #25 this year, mainly because Now That’s What I Call Christmas is bogged down by a few more modern songs–Britney Spears and Gloria Estefan contributions are particularly insipid–but overall this is a great set you can find used for pennies. Along with the next entry, these form a wonderful backbone for a comprehensive pop music Christmas singles collection.

 

 

#25 Rhino Records presents Home For Christmas.  Anthology by Various Artists

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In my mind, this is the best Christmas Anthology available, and that’s the rub–it’s difficult to find. It functions like the bastard love child born from those orgiastic holiday delights of the 1960’s Tire-company sponsored Christmas vinyl albums, and covers much of the same ground. This is the soundtrack to my childhood Christmases, remastered, and has serious traction as a vintage/retro goldmine of hipster delight. It’s out of print–if you see one around, snatch it up for yourself or as a gift.

#24 Diana Krall: Christmas Songs
KrallI have to admit that I have a soft spot for Diana Krall and this recording because last year, when Ms. Krall was at #22, my post on her included the album cover and another sexy picture.  For months after, and much to my confusion, my blog would pick up around a half dozen hits to based on searches for “Diana Krall.” Well, I’m not a stats counter, but back when this blog was new and a dozen hits in a day was mind-blowing, I was certainly grateful.  This is a perfectly good album, for I found myself skipping over it for some reason, so I had to drop her down a little this year.  And yes, I realize that it would be wildly cynical of me to post more sexy pictures of the wildly popular jazz chanteuse.  I’d never be so low as to post stuff like this:
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Elizabeth Lauten & The Obama Girls

I suppose most of you–among the American contingent, at least–have by now heard about Elizabeth Lauten’s ill-considered, vile attack on President Obama’s teen-aged daughters, Sasha(16), and Malia(13).  I’ve been busy with family for the past three days, so I’m a little Obamas Yawnlate to the game, but I had to take an opportunity to say my piece.  First, in case you missed it, here’s the skinny:  Every year the President does this corny bit in which he “pardons” a couple of turkeys before going inside the White House to, um, have a nice turkey dinner.  It’s silly, but silly in a fun, nice, old-fashioned way.  The teenaged Obamas, as teens tend to be, were unimpressed in a very obvious, expertly ambivalent way.

Anyone who has ever known a teenager knows those faces.  Annoying? Sure.  But also an opportunity: anyone who has never mocked a child who is making that face hasn’t truly lived.  I enjoy it on an almost daily basis.

ClimberElizabeth Lauten, the communications director for U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) obviously has not had the pleasure, addressing the humorous image with a fusillade of angry denigration, publicly ridiculing President Obama’s children with a shockingly aggressive, repugnant, and inexcusable venom while taking a few oblique shots at the President and Mrs. Obama at the same time.

Elizabeth-Lauten-FB.png.CROP.rtstoryvar-mediumI ought not to be surprised–I like to joke that the only group I detest more than Democrats is Republicans, but the fact is that in the outright nasty department it takes one hell of an aggressive liberal to out-insult a  conservative.  Just think on Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and all those gap-toothed inbreds who insist on writing italicizing the President’s middle name, Barack Hussein Obama like it matters.  In the low blows department, these people are whacking at ankles with croquet mallets and laughing all the way to their meetings with Wall Street swindlers and CEO’s of offshore-based corporations.  Why wouldn’t they take aim at innocent children, especially given the enthusiastic, muttering hate of a small but vocal minority of the far right for the President?

A lot of folks are calling for Ms. Lauten’s head on a platter, or a least for her swollen cankles to be compelled to take their place in an unemployment line.  Not me.  I don’t give a shit.  Apologies have been demanded, but I don’t care about those, either–I’d rather the bitch stood adamantly behind her words then to cower behind insincere, politically expedient words scripted by a public relations consultant.

What really irks me is the script Ms. Lauten followed when the inevitable apology oozed out of her office.
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What a load of cow pies, right?

“Blah, blah, blah I want to keep my job blah blah blah AFTER MANY HOURS OF PRAYER…blah blah blah.” That’s what I read.

I loathe this shit.  When I’ve tried to help people understand poetry, one of the tactics I suggested was to re-read a particular work with an eye towards visualizing each metaphorical element, then think about how they fit into the narrative.  That strategy can be instructive in this situation as well: just imagine Ms. Lauten on her knees, hands folded in front of her, communing with His Holy Humungousness–for “many hours,” on Thanksgiving Day no less,  over her venal skewering of a couple of innocent teenaged girls.  “Whatta ya think, G-Dawg, was that too much?”

I’m hear to tell you: that doesn’t mean a gawd-durned thing. I don’t give a good damn how much she prayed after the fact, playing the God Card now is a small, petty, and wholly transparent response.  Thinking that we’ll fall for such a cynical bit of ass-covering nonsense is, at best, gravely insulting.  Furthermore, I’m tired of self-professed Christians acting like supreme, sociopathic asshats until they’re called on it, only to step back, shove God in our faces, and ask forgiveness.  We’re smarter than that.  We see through you.

I mean: I’m an atheist, I don’t go to Church unless someone is dead or getting married, but somehow I know better than to act this way.  Why don’t they?  The truth is that they do.  They know, but they just don’t care.  Christian morality is little more than part of the costume they wear, like a prostitute in a corset and push-up bra, to seduce the weak and the idiotic.

Note: It seems Ms. Lauten isn’t alone in her cynical use of Christianity to serve her own wickedness.  This is her employer:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/05/22/gop-congressman-stephen-fincher-on-a-mission-from-god-starve-the-poor-while-personally-pocketing-millions-in-farm-subsidies/

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“Millennials” Love Pittsburgh: Duh. Of course they do.

My advocacy for Pittsburgh is tireless and nearly infinite.  Yet another national article for the bandwagon.

Decillo Bridges
Photo By Dave Decillo. Visit his page and buy one of his numerous amazing images of Pittsburgh and the world beyond http://hdrexposed.zenfolio.com/

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/11/what-millennials-love-about-pittsburgh/383074/

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Thankgiving: Where Turkey Comes From

Well, that last post was serious.  Time to get back to a more holiday-friendly, sillier tone.  So, I ask the question:  Where does Turkey come from?

Why, from pretty girls, of course.

We don’t see photos of famous actresses and beautiful models posed poised to slaughter the sacred bird in this age of heightened sensitivity–as we have in the vintage photos I’ve been posting leading up to today.  Conversely, I’ve found no vintage photos of lovely daughters, wives, and girlfriends showing off their prized kills. I’m not certain what this means about our society.

Nevertheless:  ‘Merika!  Hell, yes.

P.S. I especially like the pink arrows in the last few pictures.

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Note: All photos were found via google search “girl hunt turkey.” None of these are my property and are being shared solely for humorous intent. I don’t make a single penny from oldroadapples. If one of these is yours, let me know and I’ll take it down.

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Thanksgiving Food…For Thought

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Way back in April, I followed a link to the awesome photo above, which itself had been taken from a twitter post by “Cleveland Frowns” and read through a few, mostly outraged, comments.  The overall tones of the discussion were understandably angry, with a strong dose of condemnation over the general disrespect and insensitivity of America’s Caucasian mainstream for our Native brothers and sisters.  The reactions varied between pity and calls for violence–if the post and comments are still available on line you can read some for yourself– as is generally the case with this discussion, which I’ve reviewed in various incarnations before.  Indeed, I’ve delved into the subject before, albeit from a more dispassionate perspective here, and then followed up here–decent posts that sum up my feelings and the road I took to get to them.

In the ensuing months, my opinion hasn’t changed–a country built on the ideals that I was taught to believe in–however idealized and romanticized those ideals might be, should not condone the continued, systematic humiliation and 741degradation of an entire race, especially given the historic, genocidal treatment of that race by the colonizing mainstream and their “Manifest Destiny.”  It’s important to remember that while Adolph Hitler and his Nazis were responsible for about 11 million non-combatant deaths (about 6 million of them Jews), the number of Native Americans killed during the period of American colonization is estimated to be as high as 80-90 million, with conservative numbers somewhere in the 50-60 million range.  And that’s no laughing matter.

Thanksgiving, the holiday during which we count our blessings, is a good time to take a deep breath and remember that there aren’t a whole lot of Native folks throwing down a turkey on the table and reminiscing about the good old days.  Many of us know that the Thanksgiving we learned about in school was pretty much invented during the Lincoln administration as a way to salve the divisions created by the civil war–a ploy to get folks to sit down and have a meal together and appreciate what we have.  Politically, it was genius–we’re still doing it today, right?  And isn’t it fun to consider that Honest Abe Lincoln is sort of the father of Black Friday?

But I digress.  More accurate–and quite fascinating, historically–accounts of the first Thanksgiving are available here and here.  You’ll note that the story wasn’t wildly changed from what we learned in school, but those changes were highly significant.  Those colonists, far from the first that the Wampanoag had encountered, were tolerated, if not enthusiastically welcomed, despite the previous visits and depredations (disease outbreaks, skirmishes, and the abduction of Natives who were pressed into slavery among them) largely because the pilgrims had women and children in their party–and it was decided that only peaceful people would travel with their women and children.  The Wampanoag held the pilgrim’s fates in their hands, and that tolerance and assistance allowed the colony to survive–but did they ever sit down and have a big, celebratory meal?  Not by native accounts.

That doesn’t mean Thanksgiving isn’t a good idea, but that we should look honestly at the truths behind our holiday as presented to us, and the solemn and violent history that has elapsed over the nearly 400 between then and now.  For many Native Americans, thanksgiving is considered a National Day of Mourning, and rightly so, but others look wistfully at the mythological incarnation of the holiday and less at the actual, depressing history and contemplate what the holiday can be, and what we as a people and as a nation could have been.   As quoted in the article cited below, Ramona Peters, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer said, “As a concept, a heartfelt Thanksgiving is very important to me as a person. It’s important that we give thanks. For me, it’s a state of being. You want to live in a state of thanksgiving, meaning that you use the creativity that the Creator gave you. You use your talents. You find out what those are and you cultivate them and that gives thanks in action.”

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I have to admit that I rarely give thought to pilgrims on Thanksgiving–except for those little accordion-fold paper turkey figures with the pilgrim hats and collars.  Love those.  Like most people, I’m thinking about getting together with distant family, sitting around drinking beer, scarfing shrimp cocktail and cheese and crackers, talking  whether there will be enough stuffing left over for seconds, maybe thirds (my capacity for stuffing is boundless), about apple pie, about going out to the lake to see the opening of the big Christmas Lights display, about how I wished I’d had the initiative to put up my own Christmas lights three days ago when it was warm because they’re calling for snow all week, and finally about football–and how in a short span of days–hours, really–everyone will disperse and go back to their far-flung lives, and how the holiday–any holiday that brings us together–never, ever lasts long enough.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/11/23/what-really-happened-first-thanksgiving-wampanoag-side-tale-and-whats-done-today-145807
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Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Plato

plato_bustI noted this Plato quote over at SFoxwriting.com, one of my regular stops when jaunting through the interwebs, and I was inspired to rebirth the old weekly quotes posts.  It was either that or some kind of crude “hump day” thing each Wednesday, and I’m not some overgrown gone-to-seed frat boy so….

This one makes give me pause to consider not only my blogging penchant, but my entire personality.  I mean: ouch.

On the other hand, those of you who know me in the real, non-electrical world must understand why I like ol’ Plato’s look. Very handsome.

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”  –Plato

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Thanksgiving Countdown: Day Seven, All Axes Pass

We’ve done the guns. It’s time to get visceral.
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Ferguson: When The Pot Inevitably Boils Over, We’re All Going to Burn

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http://aattp.org/op-ed-seven-simple-steps-to-end-police-brutality-and-restore-justice-to-america/

Not being privy to the facts, I can’t begin to comment on the specific events in Ferguson, beyond that it fails the “stink test” though not as badly as the do many other police-related acts of violence.  The sad truth is that Ferguson, as painful as it has been to so many, is just part of a chain of incidents, and the unrest occurring there represents a continuity of events, and frustrations, that has been going on almost forever.  It is only going to get worse, because each time an officer of the law is acquitted other officers become less fearful resting and potentially constructive article which I agree with whole-heartedly. I would, however, add a few items that, I think, would help to alleviate the sense of powerlessness, not to mention the scent of obfuscation and and concealment that hangs over so many incidents of police violence.

1.) In the face of an incident, police officers should be treated as would any citizen.  If I kill a man in the street, I am almost certain to be arrested, processed, and confined pending a hearing.  It is likely I will be perp-walked before cameras, my name and background released to the press.  When a police officer kills a man in the street (or commits any criminal act either in public or private) the police department involved generally makes efforts to shroud the officer’s identity, and months–sometimes years–can go by before the investigation, and any charges, are addressed and during that time the officer may continue to serve, or at worst incur a reduction in duties.  It is little wonder that citizens suspect collusion between police perpetrators, district attorneys.  A potential crime is a potential crime.  Giving police privacy that civilians don’t enjoy is a luxury we, as a nation, can no longer afford.

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Immigrants Stealing “Our” Jobs?

I’m enjoying the sputtering protestations of simpleton would-be patriots in the wake of President Obama’s discussion of his plans to address immigration issues here in the USA.  At base is the outrage that, after 6 years of the legislative branch refusing to allow any relevant, useful legislation to even be debated, the President is threatening to creatively employ his executive powers to force the issue.  He’s been labeled a imagesself-styled King, a dictator, and both a fascist and a communist–sometimes by the same people, which while entertaining is not particularly productive.  A few minutes ago I received an email from a concerned citizen and acquaitance who has informed me, “they’re coming for our jobs.”

Um, yeh.  Right.  I somehow don’t think that the Teabagging Movement has a lot to fear in terms of competition, but just in case, I’ve got good news.  All those jobs the evil South Americans are doing, for mimimum wage?  Those jobs are available. They’re hiring!

Georgia’s New Immigration Law Leading To Crops Rotting In Farmers’ Fields

They’re hiring in the city
poultry processing

They’re hiring in the country, too!
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That’s right–if you don’t want those brown Mexican bastards to earn sweet American greenbacks kissed by god it/him/her-self, it’s your big opportunity to take a job from a illegal immigrant. You’ll get the satisfaction of doing an honest American day’s work, AND earn $7.25 (gross, sorry) an hour. You’ll live like KINGS!
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However, competition won’t just end so I’m proposing a new way of handling the citizenship thing–we’ll hold open auditions that would-be immigrants could participate in at varrious border locations. Should they succeed, they can earn jobs and pay taxes, but not collect benefits, but if they fail they’ll need to leave. The catch is that we’ll allow a limitless number of Teabagger applicants to try out for those jobs right alongside the dirty wetbacks. So, literally, a motivated Teabag movement could easily manage to use their unique skills and innate American-ness to outwork the immigrants. It’s like going out for the basketball team–whoever proves themselves to be most productive and beneficial to the team gets a jersey. I’m sure the Teabaggers will be gutting all our chickens and harvesting all of our crops in no time at all.

So, let the competition begin.
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