It’s beginning to look a lot like…well, April

Today it was 50 degrees and rainy. The other day it was 55 degrees. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be around 59. This is not December.

To get you more into the Christmas mood, my piece in defense of Christmas music from the current print issue of The Saturday Evening Post is now online. You can also check out my Christmas playlist and stare at the snow that’s falling on my site this very moment. Maybe all that will help get you with your ho-ho-hos and your fa-la-las.

My 2015 Christmas Supermix

So there I was in the supermarket, minding my own business, being the same height I always am, when a clerk walked over to me and asked me if I needed help. I was reaching for a roll of paper towels on the top shelf, and like always I had to reach up just a bit. I wasn’t jumping up trying to reach it, I just had to stretch a bit. “Can I get that for you?” the clerk said to me, like I was a 80-year-old woman attempting to lift a keg of beer or a small child jumping up for a box of cereal.

Look, I know I’m not Brad Garrett from Everybody Loves Raymond. On the other hand, I’m not Danny DeVito. I can reach things!

Sorry, quick rant over. How about some Christmas music? To accompany my piece in the print edition of The Saturday Evening Post – which I’m sure you’ve already bought – here’s a mix of Christmas songs I like. I made a list a couple of years ago but I deleted that post because some of the links have expired (yes, one of these days I’m going to embed the music on this site myself instead of linking out). Here are those songs again with two extra tracks:

1. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (Andy Williams)
2. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (Dean Martin)
3. “Christmas Dreaming” (Harry Connick, Jr.)
4. “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” (Michael Buble)
5. “(Everybody’s Waitin’ For) The Man With The Bag” (Kay Starr)
6. “The Christmas Song” (Nat King Cole)
7. “Christmas Wrapping” (The Waitresses)
8. “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (Kristin Chenoweth)
9. “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” (Dean Martin)
10. “Christmastime Is Here” (Vince Guaraldi Trio)
11. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love)
12. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (Rosemary Clooney)
13. “Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow” (Jo Stafford)
14. “A Winter Romance” (Dean Martin)
15. “Winter Wonderland” (Perry Como)
16. “The Christmas Blues” (Dean Martin)
17. “The Christmas Waltz” (Harry Connick, Jr.)
18. “Happy Holiday” (Peggy Lee)
19. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (Nancy Wilson)
20. “Snow” (Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Danny Kaye)
21. “Sleigh Ride” (The Boston Pops)


I swear I had planned to have the next Letter out before Thanksgiving. I swear to you. I even had a great Thanksgiving-ish recipe that I was going to include with it (courtesy of Vincent Price, of all people). But now I’ll have to include that recipe in the Christmas letter. Luckily most Thanksgiving dishes can be switched over to Christmas without anyone knowing (though the opposite isn’t always true – if you show up at someone’s house on Thanksgiving with cookies in the shape of Santa Claus people might say “Aren’t you a little early?”).

So what happened? Laziness I just got too busy and time got away from me. It will be out the second week of December.

On a related note – related because we’re talking about letters and this song title has the word “reply” in it – I recently discovered to my horror that I’ve been singing one of my favorite songs wrong for the past 30+ years. Nothing makes sense anymore.

It’s not “all the excess here,” it’s “all the exits sealed.”

Have a great Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for patient subscribers.

Completely Random

1. The irritating thing about being fired from a writing job is that I have to update my bio page again.

2. The problem with going back in time to kill baby Hitler – the problem with all time-travel scenarios including Back to the Future and Star Trek – is that if you go back in time and change history, then that thing didn’t happen, and if it didn’t happen, how did you know to go back in time to do it in the first place? Here’s my favorite take on the subject:

I know, I know, blah blah parallel timelines, blah blah multiverses. If that’s your argument, well, that’s what the comment section is for.

3. The other day someone on the street asked me for 29 cents. Not a quarter, not 30 cents, exactly 29. My first thought was maybe they wanted to buy something and they were exactly 29 cents short and didn’t want to be greedy. But now I’m thinking he knew people wouldn’t have 29 cents and would just give him a couple of quarters or a buck. Street psychology.

4. Does anyone else love this time of year, when it gets dark early? I seem to be in the minority but I love it when it gets dark at 4:30. The sun going down at 9 just makes me depressed for some reason, and I’m well aware that’s the opposite of how most people feel.

5. Reminder: I have a new piece in the print edition of The Saturday Evening Post.

Do you hear what I hear?

satevepostnovdec15I have a new piece in the print Saturday Evening Post. That’s right, the print edition. Which means you actually have to go to a bookstore or newsstand and buy it (or subscribe!). It’s my defense of Christmas music. Yes, I love Christmas music. You want to make something of it?

It’s the November/December issue. I love that cover. It’s called “Dog and Cat Wait For Santa,” by Paul Bransom, and it was originally published on the cover of The Country Gentleman in 1916.

Right here, right now

A MacBook. A full cup of hot tea. A Westclox travel alarm clock I use as my regular desk clock. A coffee table because I don’t have a desk. Four remote controls. A doctor’s bill. A discount offer from The New Yorker. A Filofax open to today. A Uni-Ball 307 gel pen. TV on mute. A loud truck roaring past my front window. Self-stick stamps. Two Mad Men soundtrack CDs I need to add to iTunes. Books by Nora Ephron, Raymond Chandler, and Peggy Noonan. Narrowing down the ideas I want to pitch to my editors. A lamp across the room I need to turn on. Thoughts on what to have for dinner tonight, and a crisp October wind coming in through an open door.