SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2003
Here it is, three days after Christmas, and it feels like…March 7th, or something. Temps around 50,
no snow on the ground, and the spirit of Christmas gone in an instant, as if Santa Claus got home after
his long night's work, flipped the Christmas Spirit On/Off Switch (TM), said "fuck it" and went to bed.
It's amazing how the 6 weeks before Xmas can be a non-stop whirlwind of holly jolly, jingle belly music and
joy, and then the day after, the whole feeling is gone. Maybe it's the temps and whatnot mentioned above,
but it's probably also a personal thing. It's hard to keep that Xmas spirit alive when you have no tree
(long story), no girlfriend to share it with, no kids around. Yeah, there will probably be one last flicker
of seasonal joy left on New Year's Eve, which might even bleed a little bit into New Year's Day, but after that
it will be two weeks of trying to shake off that odd letdown you get after the holidays are over. I just pray for a
giant, state-comes-to-a-standstill type blizzard, to remind us that the winter is still here (in fact it only started
But I had a good, if uneventful Christmas. My family
celebrated a day early, as we did last year, because my sister and her
family went to Florida on Christmas Day. Christmas Eve was spent at
another sisters' annual Christmas Eve bash. Lots of people, lots of
different conversations going on at the same time, great food, and
about 12 glasses of wine. I think that sums up the holiday for me.
Not sure if I'll post again until
January 1 is upon us, so Happy New Year a few days early. I'll be home
that night, doing my usual low-key New Year's Eve
thing, unless something else comes up (it won't). Many new things
coming in 2004, so stay tuned.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2003
On my Yahoo! news page is the following headline: "Paris
Hilton Bigger TV Draw Than Bush." There's a really dirty joke in there
somewhere, I just haven't figured it out yet.
Season's Greetings and all that. It seems that every time I get a chance to update this blog it just turns
out to be an opporunity to apologize for not updating more often. Things are really busy right now, with
two big freelance gigs that are taking up most of my time. But it's paid busy, as in "I do work and someone
sends me a piece of paper in the mail that has numbers on it" busy. And as a writer you try to jump at those things, especially
when they aren't coming as much as they used to, and especially around the holidays.
Speaking of: I'll admit that I am a complete and
unabashed sucker for all things Christmas, whether it's the hokey Xmas
the hype, the snow on the ground, the decorations at the mall, the
carols and other holiday songs. And I make no excuses for it, just
because I'm in my late 30s. Just last week I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.
And it wasn't one of those situations where
you're on the couch, channel surfing, and you come across it and say to
yourself "oh, that's on, maybe I'll watch it." No, this was a planned
deal. It's actually near brilliant. The other day I bought at Border's
a hardcover book on the history and making of the special (for only
$3.99, which might be a mistake, so don't tell them), and it's
something I treasure.
Yeah, call me a geek if you must. (And you must, I know). I mean, I'm the guy, who in a past issue of Professor Barnhardt's Journal, picked both It's A Wonderful Life and Miracle On 34th Street as his
favorite films of all-time. And another of my Top 10, Three Days Of The Condor, is also set at Christmas, so all that can't be a coincidence.
And when it comes to holiday songs, I have to say that I
feel sorry for people who say they don't enjoy them. I think a lot of
it is posturing, saying that you're too hip
to like those syrupy carols and those jaunty Xmas ditties. I think most
people like them a lot more than they let on. Oh sure, they might get
sick of them playing
everywhere you go, from stores to elevators to your favorite radio
station, but I think people secretly love them, or at the very least
they know that these songs need to be
played this time of year. Me, I like them period, with no hesitation or irony.
Right now as I'm typing this I'm listening to my CD
player, Dean Martin singing "A Winter Romance." I like his
non-traditional holiday songs, like this one
and "Christmas Blues." His versions of classics like "White Christmas"
and "Winter Wonderland" are fine (he has a world-weary voice mixed with
a certain brightness that
is really refreshing), but it's the jazzy, pop stuff that really hits
home. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm"
are great songs period, regardless
of the time of year you listen to them. Though listen to his version of
"Silent Night." I swear it sounds like he got drunk some night and
stumbled into some church to record it, setting up the recording
equipment himself. In other words, it's excellent.
I have a certain hatred in my heart for rock and roll
Xmas songs. For every "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rockin' Around The
Christmas Tree," two rock songs that have
tilted over into the classic holiday category, there are a dozen crappy
songs by Bruce Springsteen ("Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" – I
remember back in the 80s when fans scrambled to find this "rare" song,
it's actually quite terrible), Bon Jovi, and
Bob Seger. My roommate burned a Xmas greatest hits last year. There are
about 30 songs on it, and I swear that 9 of them are by Jimmy Buffett.
Jimmy Buffett! I'd rather have my ears
scraped out with a spoon than listen to Mr. Margaritaville butcher a
classic. My roommate has Sinatra and Crosby on the CD too, but having
Buffett every other track, along with at least TWO versions of "Mele
Kelekimaka" negates the whole damn project. I think I heard him adding
a few songs to the CD the other day. Probably Buffett singing "Away In
A Manger." And any Xmas collection you make that
doesn't include Rosemary Clooney or The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrap"
doesn't deserve to exist.
Rant over. Back to work. More later.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2003
Sunday afternoon. Still snowing. Still trapped in the apartment. It's a good thing I stocked up
on hot chocolate and soup.
The most bizarre and by far the funniest moment of the storm: local reporter standing in front of
Scituate harbor, trying to describe how badly the boats were being tossed around by the fierce waves and winds.
"These boats behind me are being tossed around like…um…I don't know…like ham sandwiches." Remarkably, the anchor
didn't laugh, or perhaps they weren't paying attention to what she actually said. Oh, I wish I had that on tape.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2003
I know, those ads. I'm working on actually paying for this site in early '04. But for now,
check out some of the fine products from some of the fine companies that are advertising on my site.