Monday, December 24, 2012

Keeping Christmas

Here's a Christmas greeting from Terry Gilliam -



Happy Holidays to you, Terry





What would the holidays be without a little visit with the boys from up north? Why not check out South Park's Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics -



One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.


Now that you're in the proper mood for the holidays - I'll leave you with these thoughts from  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his poem, Christmas Bells:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
    And wild and sweet
    The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
    Had rolled along
    The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
    A voice, a chime,
    A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
    And with the sound
    The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
    And made forlorn
    The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
    "For hate is strong,
    And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."





I've told my kids and maybe you'll tell yours - Dammit kids, get to bed!  The sooner you go to sleep, the quicker Christmas will be here.





And so it goes.


Here's a rare early photo of yours truly first opening his cabinet -



Sunday, December 23, 2012

A little 'less syrupy' holiday special

In case you've grown tired of all of those kids holiday specials, here's one that's a tad more adult - The Miskreant Puppets present 12 Awkward Days of Xmas :



So what did we learn by watching this special - all hyperkinetic children can be instantly silenced by slapping them in the face with a talking wienie.


Today’s Christmas video countdown – A Hip Hop Christmas (Old School)

Christmas Rappin  Kurtis Blow -




Christmas in Hollis  Run D.M.C. -




Christmas Time  De La Soul feat. DMX (and Paul McCartney)-




Sleigh Ride  TLC  -




Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto  Snoop Dogg -




Yuletown Throwdown (Rapture)  Blondie and Fab 5 Freddie -




Christmas Is   Run-D.M.C. -




2 more shopping days until Christmas. If you haven't started shopping, may I suggested that a fine ointment or an imported salve, purchased from the local drug store might have to do.



And so it goes

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It's a Pee Wee Christmas

Everybody find a spot on the couch, we're all going to watch Pee-Wee's Christmas Special -



This is the only episode in which the secret word is not revealed in the beginning.  I'll let you know - it's YEAR.  So remember to scream really loud when you hear it.


Today's countdown is a secret - you figure it out

The Christmas Song




Getting Ready For Christmas Day
 



Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 
 



Winter Wonderland 




I'll Be Home For Christmas
 



Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town
 



White Christmas 




3 more shopping days until Christmas. 1 more shopping days until Festivus. You might want to take the aluminum pole out of the closet.



And so it goes


Friday, December 21, 2012

Now, it's Christmas

Darlene Love makes her annual appearance on the David Letterman Show tonight to sing Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) -

Darlene Love's 2011 appearance




CBS produced a mash-up of her performances on the show over the years -




Today’s Christmas video countdown – Happy Holiday from Prisoner 1073015







4 more shopping days until Christmas, (2 more shopping days until Festivus,) and in case of alien invasion - our new overlords are from Nibiru.  Remember, get your list of family grievances together.



And so it goes.

Stalin: Portrait of an Evil Bastard

Josif Djugashvili was born in the Gori District of Tiflis Province in Georgia, Imperial Russia, on December 21, 1879 (or December 18th or the 22nd. When you're an evil bastard dictator, you get to choose your own birthday).


His father was a drunken and often unemployed cobbler, illiterate, and like Josif’s mother, Ekaterina, had only been emancipated from serfdom in 1864. Mr. Djugashvili was a violent man, and often beat little Josif, whose left arm was permanently injured in a childhood "accident." Josif was also afflicted by small pox at the age of five, and this left his face a crosshatching of pockmarks.

To say that the cobbler's son had no shoes would be the grossest of understatements.

At the Gori Elementary School, little Joey Djugashvili was unexceptional in terms of grade point average, aptitude, and physical education. His self-esteem was in tatters. He was a moody, sullen boy, but even in the benighted educational environment of nineteenth century Imperial Russia, his teachers knew that beneath his brooding exterior there beat the heart of a wounded frightened child.

"Joey only needed a little encouragement," one teacher recalled in an interview published shortly before her disappearance. "He’d never speak up in class, but if you took the time to talk to him one-on-one he’d blossom like a flower."

Another teacher recalled Djugashvili’s difficult home life. "His parents never came to our Meet the Faculty suppers," the pedagogue reflected from his cell not long before his execution. "So I visited his home on several occasions. His mother was not very affectionate, but his father was a brute and a tyrant and would only address him as 'dumb-ass.' You knew even then that the cards were stacked against the poor kid."

His peers taunted him mercilessly at school, and his high school class voted him "most likely to die alone and unloved." But one cannot help but be startled by the Djugashvili staring out from the photograph in his high school yearbook. The overall look is haunted, but even then there could be seen the galvanization of will, the hardening of determination, that in a few short years the world would learn to know and fear as Josif Stalin.

One can only feel pity for this troubled soul, this poor, sweet child who never wanted anything more than a little love and attention. Even as one watches the same old familiar footage of a laughing Stalin quaffing a martini while marching over a path paved with human skulls, even then if one looks closely one can see the eyes of the child he once was: frightened, sad, and alone.

Was Little Joe truly a wellspring of bloody malevolence, or was he perhaps a victim himself, a frightened and insecure little boy who wanted nothing more than a little approval and a few kind words? It’s easy to hold him responsible for the thirty to forty-five million deaths that occurred on his watch, but was it really all his fault? Can we not properly lay some, if not all, of the responsibility for the sins of the son on the deeds of the father?



I hope that parents everywhere will give their children a little extra love and attention this holiday season, because the world needs another little Joe like I need a samovar up my ass.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's only fair

December 20, 1946 -
The Frank Capra film It's A Wonderful Life had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its official premiere on this date.



The film is regarded as a classic and is a staple of Christmas television around the world, although, due to its high production costs and stiff competition at the box office, financially, it was considered a flop.

(Another, more adult alternate ending of the film) -



This is truly a strange little film.


James Brown said that, "It's a man's world," so Today's Christmas video countdown - Male Rockers Perform:

Pretty Paper  Chris Isaak -




Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!  Chicago -




Little Drummer Boy  Jimi Mendrix 
-




Santa Claus Is Coming To Town  Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band -




Must Be Santa  Bob Dylan -




Frosty The Snowman  Leon Redbone And Dr. John -




Please Come Home for Christmas  Aaron Neville -




Good King Wenceslas  Michael Stipe & Mandy Patinkin -



And speaking of Good King Wenceslas, here a brief history on the so called, 'King Wenceslas' -




5 more shopping days until Christmas, (3 more shopping days until Festivus,) and 1 more days until the end of days. Remember, stores will be packed with late Festivus shoppers.



And so it goes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Let's hear it for the ladies

Today's Christmas video countdown - Female Performers:

Silent Night  Stevie Nicks -




This Time of Year (When Christmas is Near)  Etta James
-




Rockin around the Christmas Tree   Brenda Lee  -




The First NoĆ«l   Annie Lennox -




Christmas Wrapping   The Waitresses -




All I Want For Christmas Is You   Mariah Carey -




Children Go Where I Send Thee   Natalie Merchant -




Run Rudolph Run   Sheryl Crow -




6 more shopping days until Christmas, (4 more shopping days until Festivus,) and 2 more days until the end of days. Remember, stores will be packed with late Festivus shoppers.



And so it goes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday for the kids

(I'm still trying to get past this weekend)
Today's Christmas countdown - Holiday Cartoons:

The Night Before Christmas  -




Santa's Suprise  -




Christmas Comes but Once a Year  -




Bedtime For Sniffles -




A Pups Christmas  -




The Christmas Visitor -




And finally - Christmas with Liberace -



because what kids doesn't want to spend Christmas with Mr. Showmanship


 7 more shopping days until Christmas, (5 more shopping days until Festivus,) and 3 more days until the end of days. If you haven't started shopping yet - think cash (the gift that shows you care.)


I'm not sure how long you can keep being on the 'nice' list this year.  Let's be naughty and save Santa the trip.

Monday, December 17, 2012

You have never seen the like of me before!

December 17, 1843 (there is some controversy concerning this actual date) -


Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol, on this date. Dickens wrote the novel after his first commercial failure. His previous novel, Martin Chuzzlewit had flopped, and he was suddenly strapped for cash. Martin Chuzzlewit had been satirical and pessimistic, and Dickens thought he might be more successful if he wrote a heartwarming tale with a holiday theme.



He got the idea for the book in late October of 1843, the story of the heartless Ebenezer Scrooge, who has so little Christmas spirit that he wants his assistant Bob Cratchit to work on Christmas Day.



Dickens struggled to finish the book in time for Christmas. He no longer had a publisher so he published the book himself, ordering illustrations, gilt-edged pages and a lavish red bound cover. He priced the book at a mere 5 shillings, in hopes of making it affordable to everyone. It was released within a week of Christmas and was a huge success, selling six thousand copies the first few days, and the demand was so great that it quickly went to second and third editions.



God bless us, everyone!!!


Today’s Christmas video countdownA Christmas Carol

Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol




Scrooge -




A Christmas Carol Tom Lehrer-




A Christmas Carol (1910) -




And there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than drinking spirits -

Coquito

Eggnog is usually thought of as a Christmas beverage and to tell the truth I am not a huge fan of Eggnog. So I find it amusing that the recipe that I'm posting is for Eggnog.

Coquito, a Puerto Rican twist on the classic, is a family favorite and my sister asked me for our family recipe – I have become the repository for family recipes. I thought I’d share it with you and perhaps you can try it out on your family.

Please note: these drinks go down quite smoothly and are very potent – they could be administered as a calmative for frayed nerves during the holiday season.

Ingredients:

* 4 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup of sugar
* 1/2 can of (14-ounces) condensed milk
* 1 14-ounce cans evaporated milk
* 1 1/2 cans of 15-ounce cans cream of coconut
* 1/2 of a Fifth of white rum (or more)
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 teaspoon coconut (or vanilla) extract


Tools:

* Drink Blender
* Can opener
* Glass


Directions:
Add the egg yolks, sugar, spices and vanilla into the blender. Mix until well blended.

Add the evaporated & condensed milk to the blender and briefly mix. (Condensed milk is very thick - you may want to open the can up all the way and scrap out all of the milk with a spatula.)

Vigorously shack the can of cream of coconut (it tends to separate.) Pour the cream of coconut into the blender and mix well. Scrap out any remaining coconut stuff from the can.

Add the rum and mix. Taste. If you think you need more rum, add it.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve cold.


8 more shopping days until Christmas and 4 days until the end of the Mayan Calendar.



And so it goes.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tanoshii kurisumasu wo!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, means Christmas more that crocheted puppets playing the ukelele - enjoy the musical styling of U900:




Sleigh Ride -







Jingle Bells-




Silent Night -






Happy Xmas (War Is Over) -



Enjoy your day.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It's over, it's over, it's over.




It's the Eighth night of Hanukkah.


At this point, just drink the oil - it will act as a purgative.


And here, I promise, is the last set of songs celebrating Hanukkah -

Hanukkah With Veronica Monica




Happy Chanuka!  Ocho Kandelikas  -




A Chanukah Story: A toddler's perspective




Hanukkah in Santa Monica -




Hey, somebody has to clean up all of that wax on the break front. And somebody's got to dump all of this oil.


Today's Christmas special - Too much has been going on in the past 24 hours, so let's just play some Christmas carols


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas  Margaret Whiting -




Snowfall  Doris Day -




Winter Wonderland  Louis Armstrong -




Santa Baby  Eartha Kitt -




Hark!The Herald Angels Sing   Andy Williams -




Enjoy your day.  Hug your family a little tighter.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Isn't the holiday over yet?



It's the seventh night of Hanukkah.


That oil is a tad rancid


If you can stand it, more Hanukkah songs

It's Chanukah Yippie i Oh!    -




Chanukah Time   Josh & The Jamtones  -




Hanukkah Song  Vodkas and Latkes -




Eight Nights (Hanukkah Mashup)  StandFour




Maybe I've miscounted, it is the seventh night?

Today's Christmas countdown - Those gentlemen from Philadelphia were so moved by our themes concerning Frank and Dino that after much grappa and threatened 'kisses of death', I have be persuaded (forced at gunpoint) to have another Mobbed Up Christmas. This is not to say that any of these singers are in anyway associated with organized crime. It's just that Frankie Cervello, Molluschi Vincenzo, Joey Finocchio, etc, 'requested' these songs.


What will Santa Claus Say When he Finds Everybody Swinging  Louis Prima
-




Oh Come All Ye Faithful   Jerry Vale -




Hark! The Herald Angels Sing  Paul Anka -




You're All I Want For Christmas   Al Martino -




Buon Natale  Jimmy Roselli -



After many shots (of scotch) and plates of scungilli, vongole prime and fried calamari, the boys want to wish everyone 'Buon Natale'.



11 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 7 days.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Are you sure Lipitor isn't secretly behind all of this?


It's the Sixth Night of Hanukkah


At this point, you're probably deep frying just about anything. Please keep small children and pets out of the kitchen.  Please avoid deep frying butter or chocolate bars (your kitchen is not a county fair.)

Chanukah Melodies  Player Piano Tune  -




Shalom Sesame: The Missing Menorah  -




Chanukah Medley performed by the London Jewish Male Choir




What's Your Favorite Part of Hanukkah?   Chabad.org -




Feast of Lights  They Might Be Giants -




You should begin thinking about where you are going to store your Menorah? (I don't mean to insinuate that you aren't normally observant. Perhaps you proudly display your heirloom menorah in your living room. I can't be everywhere.)


OK, Frank wasn't the only member of the Rat Pack to sing carols - today's theme is A Dean Martin's Christmas (Dean died on Christmas day in 1995.)


White Christmas -




Silent Night -




I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm -




Jingle Bells -




It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas -




Ahhh, you can practically taste the Bourbon in the air.


12 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 8 days.





And so it goes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's that funny smell in the house

It's the Fifth Day of Hanukkah -


The oil fatigue may have already set in. Hold on, you will get through this.


Hanukkah O Hanukkah  BNL -




Dreidel Dreidel   Meshugga Beach Party  -



I know I've played the dreidel song already.  But have you hear it done to a surf guitar.


Racing Home: A Hanukkah Surprise  -




The Rocky Hora Chanukah Song  The Shlomones -



Please drink more water and have some fiber.

Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.

In honor of Ole Blue Eyes Birthday - it's a Sinatra Christmas

Christmas Dreaming  -




Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town  -




Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
-




Winter Wonderland -




The First Noel  -





13 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 9 days.

(Blame North Korea)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Godiva carries kosher chocolate!


That all I'm saying.

It's the fourth night of Hanukkah -


now it time to figure out how to get rid of all of your relatives.

Christmastime for the Jews  Darlene Love -




Happy Hanukkah (Official Video)  Matisyahu -




Shine  The Maccabeats -




Hanukkah Lovin'   -




Have some fruit


More of that music by kids abused by their domineering father- (the Motown edition)

Today's Christmas countdown - A Jackson Five Christmas

Up On The House Top -




Give Love on Christmas Day  -




Someday At Christmas  -




I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus  -




We here at ACME are wishing you time to enjoy the simple pleasures of this holiday season.  And if not, Joe will be coming by to give you the beating of your life.



14 more shopping days until Christmas and the end of the world may occur in 10 days.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh what a relief it is.

It's the third night of Hanukkah -


Move on to the donuts.


Hanukkah song (Part 3Adam Sandler -




Crank That Kosha Boy   Eric Schwartz aka Smooth-E -




Merry Swiftmas (Even Though I Celebrate ChanukahEvan Taubenfeld




Bruce Bruce the Hanukkah Moose



Remember to eat some steamed vegetables


And even more holiday special for you. What says Christmas more than music by kids abused by their domineering father

Today's other Christmas countdown - A Beach Boys Christmas

I'll Be Home for Christmas -




Santa's Got An Airplane -




Bringing Toys and Christmas Cheer -




Various Christmas Songs they got around to sing in between the verbal abuse from their father -




There is no place like home for the holiday.


15 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 11 days.



And so it goes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tonight is the second night of Hanukkah -


And here's some more Hanukkah songs for you -

The Chanukah Song Part 2  Adam Sandler -




I Gotta Feeling Hanukkah  The Fountainheads -




Chanukah Rights!  Six13 -




I wonder if Lipitor is a sponsor of Hanukkah?


In honor of our depressed little pal:  Let's all get in the mood and have a depressing Christmas -

Snow  Tracey Thorn -




Merry Christmas Dawn Davenport




I was thinking I could clean up for Christmas  Aimee Mann -




That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!  Sufjan Stevens -




And what holiday would be complete without Tom Waits -




16 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 12 days.



And so it goes

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hanukkah starts tonight

Hanukkah means "dedication"



get the loose pants out.


Original Hanukkah Song  Adam Sandler -




Hanukkah Harry -




Friends Holiday Armadillo




Dreidel  Erran Baron Cohen -



And kids, know when a simple game becomes an addiction - please no actual gambling while playing with your dreidels. Gamblers Anonymous (718) 352-1671

Remember, pace yourself - 8 days is a long time


here's a happier way to remember John Lennon on this sad anniversary






17 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 13 days.





And so it goes


Friday, December 7, 2012

It's reasonable to cry,

If you've just witnessed your friend melt before your eyes

December 7, 1969 -
Another Rankin/Bass production, Frosty the Snowman, premiered on CBS-TV on this date.



Voice actress June Foray was cast for both Karen and the Teacher and had recorded vocals for both characters. However, only her recordings for the Teacher made it into the final special as another actress was called in to replace Foray's Karen, for reasons that even Foray herself to this day does not know.


So today's theme is -



Christmas, the horrors of frostbite:

A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas  -




The Snow Man (1940)




Scary Snowman




Frosty The Snowman (1953)




The Snowman's Dilemma (1960)




The Snowman (1982)




1 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 18 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 14 days.







Thursday, December 6, 2012

Did they play Monopoly?

Today is the 48 anniversary of the original broadcast of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Let's check out some other ways Rudolph has been portrayed:

The original broadcast version commercials -




Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cartoon from 1944 -




Rudolph commercial (hawking a phone)




Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  Gene Autry -




Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer  DMX -




And if that's not enough -
It's the Feast of Saint Nicholas (yes, that St. Nick.) Amongst other things, he is the patron saint of children and was known for his generosity. He's also known as the patron saint of sailors, fishermen, merchants, the falsely accused, prostitutes (Huh), repentant thieves, pharmacists and broadcasters.


In honor of Saint Nick, we have a second Christmas video countdown today - Santa!

Here Comes Santa Claus -




Santa Claus training -




History of Santa -




History of gift giving -




2 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 19 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 15 days.


Did You Know?
After A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original. Among some of the titles were, How Father Christmas, a Fat, Smelly, Rat Bastard, died in the chimney at 307A Gin Lane last Christmas; Oh no, Mother's drunk on the holiday punch again; and Little Nell meets Jack the Ripper on Boxing Day.



And so it goes

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Well, at least he made the sleighs run on time.

Today's holiday special deals with unfair child labor practices - Mystery Science Theatre 3000 - Santa Claus



Because these are the thing you need to think about during Christmas.


We have a guest musical programmer, Olivia, selecting her favorite holiday songs:


Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey -




Feliz Navidad  Jose Feliciano -




12 Days of Christmas  BTR -




All I want for Christmas is You  Mariah Carey -




We Wish You A Swinging Holiday -




3 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 20 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 16 days.





Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I hope you have a lot of newspaper to put down around your home

OK kids, PNC bank has reported that there is a 4.8% increase in the price of the items needed for the 12 days of Christmas. In the 29th year of the survey PNC has found that the 12 items come out to a grand total of $25,431 which is a $1,168 increase from last year.



These prices are, of course, just for one verse of the song. If you add up the total cost of all the items from the entire song (what PNC Wealth Management calls “The True Cost of Christmas”) it would surmount $107,300 !


Ray Conniff & Singers -




Belle and Sebastian




Garrison Keillor




Allan Serman




On the Twelfth Day






4 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 21 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 17 days.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one.

Today's theme - As this is the anniversary of St. Elvis' comeback - It's an Elvis Christmas today

Blue Christmas




Merry Christmas Baby




It Won't Seem Like Christmas




Here comes Santa Claus




5 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 22 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 18 days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The holidays during wartime

Today's Christmas theme - Sometimes the underlying reason for the holidays is lost in the fog of war -


The Christmas Truce on the Western Front of 1914




I'll Be Home For Christmas  Bing Crosby -




Christmas Eve in My Home Town  Eddie Fisher -




Vietnam War Christmas




Marines in Iraq for Christmas




Merry Christmas From Afghanistan





Happy Xmas (War Is Over)




6 more shopping days until Hanukkah, 23 more shopping days until Christmas, and the world may just be over in 19 days.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

No, actually it's not ironic, if truth be told

(Things have been more than a little crazy - sorry for the huge delay in this.)

Today’s Desert Island Disc conversation is with my friend Cara. We've also known Cara for more than 20 years and she did not come from that incestuous gene pool called,  Bronx High School of Science (which makes her, out of the gate, a more interesting person.)  Cara  is the definition of a guy's gal; she loves sports, is a great cook and has one of the raunchiest senses of humor.  She literally can make a construction worker blush. She truly loves to cook and had her kitchen designed to facilitate her passion.

Cara and her husband, Matt (his turn will be coming up soon) are extremely generous people who open up their hearts and homes to their friends on a regular basis.  We have spent many a happy hour, stuffing our faces in their kitchen. 

Cara  is currently VP, Assistant General Counsel at JP Morgan (and one of the last men standing from the old Bear, Stearns & Co.)


Music (in no particular order)

Isn’t it Ironic - Alanis Morrisette -



I enjoy her breakthrough album Jagged Little Pill. This song fits my life and in particular, it would be ironic if I was stuck on a desert island, listening to this song. (editor's note - Cara clearly understands that most of the situations expressed in the song were, in fact, not ironic.)


Crossfire - Stevie Ray Vaughn -



Stevie Ray's playing is phenomenal. His vocals in the song are decent here, but his playing is really stellar - it's his true voice.


Friend of the Devil - Grateful Dead -



I basically ignored them during my  High School years.  The deadheads at my school (Music & Art) were a little annoying. I began to appreciate the band in college and by the time I started hanging out with Matthew (a major deadhead), I was hooked.

Now, every time I listen to them, I'm reminded of my 20s - all those good times and pre-kids.


Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked



I love this musical: the whole musical and any song sung by Idina Menzel and/or Kristen Chenowith.  I am no closet show tune lover; I am a bona fide one.  (editor note: while this is not a shocking admission from an alum of  Music and Art, it is a surprising aspect of Cara's personality.  It's similar to finding out that Jack Black is a big musical fan - it doesn't fit one's preconceived notion of the individual but it totally makes sense once you think about it.)


After the Goldrush - Neil Young -



I was introduced to Neil Young early in High School; first, when he joined CSN, but then I caught up with his individual music at 15, when I went to summer camp.  I clearly remember the first of his songs that had a special meaning for me, (Sugar Mountain) but I learned to play After the Goldrush on the guitar.  I love the imagery as well as his singing. Neil's voice on this track is heartbreakingly beautiful. 

I've found most of his songs are great and anyone can sing them (including Matthew).


Scenes From An Italian Restaurant - Billy Joel -



I've always loved Billy Joel and still do (I feel bad that his personal life and alcohol addiction have hurt him but what can you do).


I’m a Believer - Smash Mouth -



I like Smash Mouth (shoutout to Maya, her daughter). I came to this song through Shrek and I would pick the Shrek Album to go with me to the desert island. (A sidebar discussion came up, once again about the restrictive nature of choosing only 8 songs and not 8 albums. The rules of this exercise, as well as life, are caprious and arbitrary. ) This song makes me happy and I think I need a good frame of mind to keep up my sprits on the island. 


If You want to Sing out - Cat Stevens -



I love the early work of Cat Stevens; it makes me happy. I love that music and I can see me singing the song while I collect firewood on the island for meals and to keep me and Wilson warm.

I simply have no connection to his incarnation as Yusuf.



I've added a question not in the original Desert Island Disc,  How have your musical taste changed over the years?

My musical tastes have always been evolved or maybe not at all. I sang tons of classical pieces at Music & Art (generally made me sleepy though I still like intricate harmonies regardless of language of origin) and I had a chance to sing gospel in H.S (still gives me the shivers but never sounds as good to me recorded as it does live) but I know enough to recognize that I do not have the chops to sing it on a desert island. All the family music I was allowed to listen to was opera/classical (these were our car and living room mainstays,) Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Gilbert and Sullivan, Johnny Cash/The Carter Sisters, show tunes, folk (Joan Baez/Bob Dylan, still love them), Carole King, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. Needless to say I still have a softness in my heart for the ones I can sing too (yeah Neil, “Shilo”).


How have your children affected your musical taste?

My kids know that if any one of us can sing to it and it does not give me a headache, I am more than happy to listen to all kinds of music (where you can sing to it and not get a headache so perhaps the universe is a little smaller then they want). Maya has introduced me to some really fun artists (and a few depressing ones) and Cayne has generally played anything you can get pumped up to before you play basketball (big headache but I tolerate it as how can you stop someone from getting pumped up before a game). Both kids love to shock me and I do not shock easily (and of course if it is too shocking, Cayne loses his iTunes privileges for a month (like September 2012).


What Book would you take with you?:

 That's easy, SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman


Luxury Item?:

Luxury item- Does the largest Swiss Army Knife count?  I'd like to bring a solar powered refrigerator with ice maker. (I'll give you electricity, so you don't need the solar power.  What brand of refrigerator?  Do you want it stocked with anything?) Whichever fridge with freezer/icemaker and water on the door Consumer Reports says is the longest lasting without maintenance would be my choice. Preferably a Liebher SBS32S1 (31 cu.ft) or a Whirlpool WSF26C3EXW (26 cu.ft). I would like it stocked with cheese and white wine but if I have to choose one, it would be cheese as I am sure I can ferment (fruit/grain/sugar cane) something on the island (Hawkeye managed it) and cows/goats/sheep are probably harder to find.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Light a house up rather than save a watt

Today's theme - People who like to flex their carbon foot print - Christmas Light Shows:









But no one has the Faucher family beat.  Last Christmastime, their light display in a Delawate suburb had over a million-bulbs and cost an estimated $82,320 to light!



It's nice to see that the public is helping suport the public utilities.  You know that they are barely eking out a living.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns ...

...just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves. - Ada Lovelace


While you read this today on your computer, let us ruminate upon the life of Ada Lovelace, who died on this date in 1852.



Ada would have seemed to have been born into a charmed life. She was the only child of a titled lord and a very wealthy mother. Unfortunately for her, her father was the notorious, womanizing homosexual (let your mind rattle that around for a second) and not half bad poet Lord Byron.


She was named after Byron's half-sister, Augusta Leigh, by whom he was rumoured to have fathered a child (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that - he slept with his half sister). It was Augusta who encouraged Byron to marry to avoid scandal, and he reluctantly chose Annabella Milbanke (very wealthy heiress and noted stick-in-the-mud). On January 16, 1816, Annabella left Byron, taking 1-month old Ada with her. On April 21, Byron signed the Deed of Separation and left England for good a few days later. He was never allowed to see either of them again.


Ada lived with her mother, as is apparent in her father's correspondence concerning her. Lady Byron was also highly interested in mathematics (Lord Byron once called her "the princess of parallelograms"), which dominated her life, even after marriage. Her obsession with rooting out any of the insanity of which she accused Lord Byron was one of the reasons why Annabella taught Ada mathematics at an early age. Ada was privately home schooled in mathematics and science by William Frend, William King and Mary Somerville. One of her later tutors was Augustus De Morgan. An active member of London society, she was a member of the Bluestockings in her youth.


In 1835 she married William King, 8th Baron King, later 1st Earl of Lovelace. Her full name and title for most of her married life was The Right Honourable Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace. She is widely known in modern times simply as Ada Lovelace, or by her birth name, Ada Byron.

Mary Somerville, one of her tutors, was a noted researcher and scientific author of the 19th century, who introduced her in turn to Charles Babbage on June 5, 1833. Other acquaintances were Sir David Brewster, Charles Wheatstone, Charles Dickens and Michael Faraday. She apparently ran in heady circles for her day.


During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, Ada translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program.



Lovelace's prose also acknowledged some possibilities of the machine which Babbage never published, such as speculating that "the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent."

Ada Lovelace was bled to death at the age of 36 by her physicians, who were trying to treat her uterine cancer, on this day. Thus, she perished, coincidentally, at the same age as her father and from the same cause - medicinal bloodletting. So while she considered the possible of the computer, doctors were still using leeches to cure their patients.

At her request, Lovelace was buried next to the father she never knew at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Hucknall, Nottingham.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Fifth Annual Christmas Spectacular

The holidays are upon us and we here at Dr. Caligari's love to celebrate like it nobody's business. So over the next several weeks check back here to see what we're listening to or thinking about - Today's kick-off - really bad Christmas music (we'll have a few versions of this entry.)

You've spent this past weekend shopping at the Department Stores; you're in a grouchy mood. Here's some music to extend the feeling.

Christmas Carols with that unpleasant feeling:

Back Door Santa -
Bon Jovi is usually not my cup of tea. But this Christmas classic made me reconsider, just listen to the song -



It's exactly what you think it's about and nothing says Christmas like a song about the joys of sodomy during the holidays, sung by Jersey's other native son.


Merry Christmas with Love -
I will try very hard to keep this promise



I will only play anything associated with Clay Aikens one other time this holiday. The people from the Geneva Convention have already called. As a matter of fact, I suggest you put your head phone on and listen to NIN Closer several times until the feeling goes away.



Baby, It's Cold Outside -
It's not really a holiday song but it always seems to show up this time of year.



This song seems to be a cautionary lesson for young women everywhere; never leave home without you hat, gloves and a can of pepper spray when you stop off at Dean Martin's house during inclement weather.


Christmas Shoes -
You knew it was coming, what would Christmas be with out the song about the strange child's need to buy his dying mother a pair of whore's shoes.



So many questions:  where is this kids father?; where is the store security?; where are child services?  I need a drink after this one.


Do They Know It's Christmas? -
What's not to love about a song when rich smug English singers get together after a few pints and try to shame you into making a contribution to their favorite charity?



And no - they probably don't have calendars and they probably don't celebrate Christmas.


Dog barking Jingle Bells -
Please, I beg you, just skip to the next video.



See now that you've watched it, you're reconsidering Michael Vicks convictions.


I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus -
Poor Michael, if only he hadn't seen this horrible scene



perhaps Joe wouldn't have beaten him so much, there wouldn't have been so many child sleep overs and maybe he'd still be alive!


Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas -
Another C & W classic. I can't believe this hasn't been options for a Hallmark special.



This song has everything the holidays should be about - alcoholism, child abuse, tears and then drunken sex and/or spousal abuse.


What do you get a wookie for Christmas?
Christmas without Star Wars would be unthinkable -



but I bet you'd give it a shot


Merry Merry

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Not quite the Butterball hotline

This is a message for my family but feel free you use, if needed



(If you are of a certain age and lived in the NYC area, this is what was playing on WOR in the afternoon after the parade ended.)

Sorry I'm not with you this Thanksgiving.  If you can't reach me by phone, need are the recipes you're probably looking for:


Shrimp Dip


Appetizers:
Carrots/ Celery Sticks
Pre-cubed Cheese from local deli
Olives


Turkey w/ Stuffing


Potatoes
version 1 or
version 2


Vegetables
Ginger Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans


Fennel Salad


Dessert
Apple Crisp
Brownies
Vanilla Ice Cream
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Coffee/ Tea


Have a great Thanksgiving and hopefully you've remembered to check your guns at the door!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm just saying


Nate Silver should be doing the superiority dance right now


And armed guards should hold down Karl 'Turd Blossom' Rove


and Nate should take a long soaking piss on him.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween (via the wayback machine.)

(I was getting ready to post this just before the lights went out on Monday night.)

Ancient Romans celebrated a holiday called Feralia on February 21. At first it was a simple day off to recover from the holiday of February 20 (Salvia Divinorum), and to take care of last minute shopping before the holiday of February 22 (Salta Boca).


It was, coincidentally, the last day of the year according to the Roman calendar.

Over time it became a sacred day in its own right. It became a festival to honor the dead, and like most Roman holidays it involved some serious drinking. Feralia also resembled most other Roman holidays in that it outlasted the western Roman empire. The jolly men and women of the Mediterranean basin saw no reason to give up the riotous holiday, with all its drinking and orgies, despite countless reminders from an ascendant Christian church that drinking was bad (unless it was Jesus' blood) and orgies were worse.



At last, in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV decided that the holiday was Christian after all, except that instead of honoring all the dead it should honor only dead saints, that instead of Feralia it should be called All Saints' Day, that instead of drinking and orgies it should be a day of prayer and meditation, and that instead of February 21 it should be observed on May 13.

The good peoples of the Christian world happily accepted the new name and date, but persisted in drinking and orgying. As punishment for this inappropriate enjoyment, Pope Gregory III moved it to November 1, and unwittingly laid the foundation for our modern Halloween.

Hold that thought.



Since as early as the 5th century BC, the ancient Celts had considered October 31 the last day of summer. They called the day Samhain (rhymes with Clamhain), and they believed all the divisions between the world of the living and the world of the dead were dissolved for that brief period. They thought the dead used this window of opportunity to possess the souls of the living, and the thought scared the piss out of them.

A variety of bizarre rituals to ward off the dead accumulated around Samhain over the centuries, including the sacrificial burning of virgins (when any could be found).

When these Celtic rituals collided with the Christian All Saints' Day, all hell broke loose. People didn't know whether they should pray, drink, orgy, burn virgins, or what. They tried a lot of different combination: they got drunk and prayed, they burned virgins and got drunk, they prayed to have orgies and got drunk with virgins, they prayed then got drunk and had orgies with virgins.



Eventually they settled on sending their kids out in silly costumes to ask their neighbors for candy. This was intended to keep them out of the house while the drinking and orgies raged, but since everyone's doorbells kept ringing from everyone else's children, the drinking and orgies gradually faded away.

Of course, this brief outline only traces the development of Halloween as we know it in America. The holiday is still celebrated in countries all over the world in an astonishing number of ways.



In Bulgaria, for example, October 31 is a national holiday called Pazardzhik. In rural districts, children dress up as kitchen utensils and dash from farm to farm tying chickens' feet together. Any unhappy farmer attempting to shoo the children away from his chickens will find himself pelted with manure and glass shards as the children sing playful Pazardzhik carols. In Mexico, the Day of the Dead lasts from October 31 through November 2, which has long been a concern to students of the Mexican calendar. The celebration is a fusion of sixteenth-century Spaniards' All Souls' and All Saints' Days and the Aztec festival honoring Mictecacihuatl, the Aztec goddess of the dead. (Mictecacihuatl was said to have died at birth as the result of complications relating to pronunciation.)



One can't help but marvel at the similarities between the Day of the Dead that arose in Meso-America and Kyrgyzstan's Day of the Very Sick (Nov 1), Papua New Guinea's Evening of the Emotionally Exhausted (Oct 31), and Vanuatu's Cardiovascular Appreciation Days (Oct 31 - Nov 2).

In Saudi Arabia, October 31 is Sandy Night. As soon as the sun sets, children scamper out into the desert and fill their home-made bags with sand. The holiday is believed to be derived from the ancient Bedouin tradition of sending children out to fill bags with sand.



In Chile, Halloween is infused with ancient Incan traditions. Fretful mothers extinguish the fires in their hearths for fear of attracting Spaniards while naughty children take their parents hostage and demand their weight in chocolate.



In Wittenberg, Germany, October 31 is celebrated as the day on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in 1517. Many of the town's children frolic giddily about, nailing Theses here and there with impish delight, while others try to catch and burn them as heretics.



Whatever your own tradition, enjoy Halloween. Be carefull out there though - if there is no power or lights in your area. why not stay inside.


Enjoy your day