Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Apparently, the new trend in Hobbiton is decorating your car for the holidays. In the parking lot at the grocery store this Christmas eve, I saw several cars sporting festive decorations. Two cars had stuffed reindeer antlers sprouting from the tops of their passenger side doors. One sedan had magnetic decals in the shape of Christmas lights on its trunk. And one Jeep had its doors and windows outlined with actual Christmas lights.

Gotta find out where people are getting these things and get some for myself.


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Thought everyone would enjoy this video that my colleague, Erin, put me on to. It’s from the University Library in Olsztyn, Poland.


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And now some light amusement for the holidays. First up, “I’m Gettin’ Nuttin’ for Christmas”, a favorite of mine.

Next an ode to fruitcakes, “Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake”.

And finally a little firewater to settle the stomach with “Whiskey is the Life of Man”.

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This video was too awesome not to share. This is Jim Barthelman’s 5th grade class–and a number of good-natured adults–of Quinhagak, Alaska performing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Quinhagak (pronounced quin hah guk) is a small Yupik Eskimo village of 680 residents in Western Alaska.

The kids were originally slated to perform the song live, but they were too shy so their teacher came up with the idea of making a music video instead. Have a happy holiday season!

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If, like me, you come out in a rash after hearing the same ten carols played fifteen thousand times between Halloween and Thanksgiving, then this jukebox is for you. Here’s some holiday music that hasn’t been overdone or beat to death and that doesn’t cause listeners to break out in red and green pox.

A beautiful poem set to beautiful music by Loreena McKennitt. If you can find her CD “To Drive the Cold Winter Away”, it is very worthwhile.

As you may have guessed, I prefer old fashioned carols that celebrate the winter solstice. This rendition of  “In the Bleak Midwinter” is by the Potters.

Bob Hallett of Great Big Sea, aided by an enthusiastic audience, does the GBS version of “Come and I Will Sing You”. “Come and I Will Sing You”, also known as the “Ten Commandments”, is a very old song with variations in a number of different languages. Although it may appear to be a version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, it’s not–the imagery is strange and pagan. You can hear Great Big Sea sing this song on their album, “The Hard and Easy”. The CD also comes with a companion DVD on which the lads discuss some of the history behind the songs.

To end, this is a time lapse video of a blooming Christmas cactus set to “Betlehem, Betlehem” by Kitka from their album, “Wintersongs”. If you haven’t heard Kitka, they are an all-woman ensemble specializing in the vocal music of Eastern Europe.   I highly recommend their “Wintersongs” album, by the way.  You can purchase a copy from their website (http://www.kitka.org) or from CDbaby.com.

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I am officially not in the holiday mood. Don’t get me wrong, any holiday devoted to chocolate can’t be all bad, but I just can’t stand the syrupy, touchy-feelyness that settles around the modern Christmas celebration like fake snow. So in honor of those of you, like me, who go all Grinch-y this time of year, I have prepared the following holiday playlist.

First, a little safety message from Johnny Cash. Stick to whiskey, boys, and let that cocaine be.

Next, Jerry Garcia talks about the importance of hobbies in this American version of an Irish song. The Irish version is entitled in “Whiskey in the Jar”. The American version is known as “Gilgarry Mountain” or “Gilgarra Mountain”.

“Some take delight in fishing and the bowling/Others take delight in carriage a-rolling/I take delight in the juice of the barley/Courting pretty women in the morning so early.”

At this point, you should be ready for “Whiskey River” to take your mind. And who better than Willie Nelson to do that?

By now, it’s time to get down on your knees and pray.

Of course, you should definitely take this bad boy down to the river so he can “Testify.”

I keep flashing on the outlaw character Russell played in “3:10 to Yuma” when I hear this song.

But the river can be a serious metaphor, too, as Billy Joel tells us.

This is the official music video for “River of Dreams” and I think it is quite simply one of the most beautiful music videos I’ve ever seen.

“That Old Man River, he must know something, but he don’t say nothing, he just keeps traveling on.”

This song is so strongly associated with Paul Robeson’s performance in “Steamboat” that it’s a surprise to hear a woman sing it. I think Judy Garland does a great job.

Finally, a song for the New Year that isn’t “Auld Lang Syne”. Russell Crowe started off as a singer/musician before he became an actor and he has a surprisingly good voice.  I like the sentiment he and his band, The Ordinary Fear of God, express here in “One Good Year”. The New Year is traditionally a time to evaluate how we’ve done in the past one and usually we find we’ve fallen short.

“I’ve been chasing grace, but grace ain’t so easily found.” True dat. Incidentally, that’s Alan Doyle from the Newfoundland folk/rock band, “Great Big Sea”, sharing the vocals in the vid.

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Scary Santa

Originally uploaded by MizMagee

“He knows when you’ve been sleeping/He knows when you’re awake/ He knows when you’ve been bad or good/ So be good for goodness sake ….”
or he’ll crush your house like an eggshell, kid. 🙂

Sure, you can call it kitschy roadside art, if you want. I call it a money-maker for every psychotherapist in the area …..

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