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Best Damned Quotes–Dostoyevsky AND MLK Jr.

Today our righteous quotes make for an End-of-April Two-Fer.  My good friend Tony posted an excellent Dostoyevsky twitter quote last Friday, which at first made me feel a little guilty considering my, um, propensity for editorializing.  Being the bigger man has never really been my forte, I’m afraid, behavior that has traditionally gone unchecked since, in a very non-symbolic sense, I have usually, actually been the bigger man.  And when I haven’t been, it was pretty much a given big_769that I was the faster man.

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”
–Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yeh, Words to aspire to, but I’m not that guy–and pretty soon this quote popped into my mind (and yes I had to look it up to get the exact words right)

Rev Martin Luther King“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr

So, I’m thinking I’ve learned one of two things here.  Either that real wisdom comes from knowing when to practice understanding, and when to abandon understanding for defiance and confrontation.  Either that, or Dostoyevsky was simply a skinny little chump afraid of getting his ass kicked by the bullies.*

 

*A patently unfair joke at his expense–Dostoyevsky was a great writer, who survived internment in a labor camp after he pissed off the Tsar.  I love his stuff.  Hemingway loved his stuff, too, and that means he’s good enough for anyone.

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My Favorite Christmas Recordings #10 Ultra-Lounge Christmas Cocktails Part One & Part Two

Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season.  Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.

51FnMsu4M8L 51tz5amwdSLWriting this, I’m not sure that I shouldn’t just chuck the list, put these as the the top two, and end this now.  As it stands, these would almost certainly be my “desert island” choices if I could pick just two albums that would have to do it for me for the rest of my days.  All kinds of good stuff is here, jazz and swing, from Dean Martin to Jackie Gleason.  That’s right: Jackie Gleason.  I bought this on a whim, not knowing a lot of the stuff that was on here, and I’m glad that I did–it turns out that there are a lot of songs out there I wanted, but didn’t know that I wanted.  I could write a tremendously long list of all the high points, but the “just the facts, ma’am” on this one is that there are over 40 cuts from big time artists, many of which you’ll never, ever hear on the radio, which makes them worthwhile in and of themselves.

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My Favorite Christmas Recordings #12 Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song

Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season.  Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.

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The review on Amazon.com says the same thing I was going to say: The Christmas song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….) is one of the truly great Christmas songs of all time, rivaled by giant hits like White Christmas, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays.  As I mentioned before, this recording–on vinyl–was an element of the foundation of my Christmas music collection and it a must own.  No debate.  Likewise, his cover of Oh Holy Night is so perfect, so reverent, it gives this avowed atheist shivers, if not spiritual ambitions.

The title song is magnificent, capturing the very essence of the season, and Cole’s version is the quintessential recording of it.  The only downside is, on newer versions, the inclusion of the deceased  singer’s ghoulish, computer-generated “duet” with young daughter Natalie.  Yech.

I still like this recording in vinyl–I’ve got the newest version, but it sounds like they’ve been monkeying around with it too much.  The tones are a little cold, and the song order is different–which is jarring but not ultimately damning.  Still, I’d recommend an earlier mix if you can find one, even (especially?) if it means missing the few “extras” added with the record company re-mastered the album

1. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) [1961 Version]
2. Deck the Hall
3. O Come All Ye Faithful
4. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
5. O Tannenbaum
6. O Little Town of Bethlehem
7. I Saw Three Ships
8. O Holy Night
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
10. A Cradle in Bethlehem
11. Away in a Manger
12. Joy to the World
13. The First Noel
14. Caroling, Caroling
15. Silent Night
16. Buon Natale (Means Merry Christmas to You) [*]
17. All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth) [*]
18. The Happiest Christmas Tree [*]
19. The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You) [*]
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My Favorite Christmas Recordings # 21 Elvis Presley: If Every Day Was Like Christmas

Bitter, cynical, and borderline misanthropic for most of the year, I reform for the holiday season and from mid-November to the last minute of Epiphany I’m all about the season.  Readers of Old Road Apples will find themselves under a constant barrage of holiday fare this season–from themed essays to book reviews to a countdown of my very favorite Christmas recordings.

Elvis

Elvis Presley: If Every Day Was Like Christmas

Okay, now we’re getting into the meat of the order.  I owned this on vinyl when I was in college, along with albums by Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, Big Crosby, and The Chipmunks. (Alvin? Alvin!) That’s why I was so popular with the ladies, know what I mean?

Neither do I–but it was a better, more extensive Christmas collection than most undergraduates, circa 1986.  The Elvis album is a blast–some classics here, including the title song (try not to sing along with the refrain really, really loudly!), Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me, and one of my all time favorites, Blue Christmas–listen to The King in full on growl, the dude is bringing it.  Big time.  Not a bad performance on the album, and this is another one you can pick up for a dollar or two if you keep your eyes open.  Just make sure you get the one with all 24 songs–there’s at least one version out there that mimics the vinyl record and only has about half as many cuts.

It’s also an example of why this list is a big of a crock–Elvis could very well be in the top 5, but I’ve had this album in one form or another for over 30 years and some things just sound fresher.  It’s a sure thing though.

1. If Every Day Was Like Christmas
2. Blue Christmas
3. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
4. White Christmas
5. Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
7. O Little Town Of Bethlehem
8. Santa Claus Is Back In Town
9. It Won’t Seem Like Christmas (Without You)
10. If I Get Home On Christmas Day
11. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees
12. Merry Christmas Baby
13. Silver Bells
14. I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (Alternate Version)
15. On A Snowy Christmas Night
16. Winter Wonderland
17. The Wonderful World Of Christmas
18. O Come All Ye Faithful
19. The First Noel
20. It Won’t Seem Like Christmas (Without You ….)
21. Silver Bells (Alternate Take 1)
22. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees (Unreleased Alternate Take 8)
23. I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day
24. Christmas Message From Elvis/Silent Night