Saturday, December 22, 2012

Jangle bells

Just to keep you abreast of my random thoughts on the radio content since mid-November:

Nov. 16: Yay!! The Christmas music is back!! And they've given us a whole extra week before Thanksgiving this year. Joy to the world, indeed! I love Christmas music, just love it.

Nov. 24: Two words for you: Darlene. Love.

Nov. 29: Damn you Darryl Hall and John Oates, making me love The Jingle Bell Rock the way you do!

Dec. 1: Oooh! I've never heard this version. Who knew that (insert cool artist name here) did a version of (insert great Christmas song name here) How exciting!

Dec 5: Hmmmm. I've never heard this version. Who let (insert mainstream pop artist name here) do a version of (insert name of decent Christmas song, made infinitely worse by artist above). How annoying.

Dec. 9: How come sometimes I hear Wonderful Christmastime and love it and other times I have to change the station? Wings is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but like all guilty pleasures you can only have so much. Egg nog anyone?

Dec. 11: Who the heck does Michael Buble think he is?? You're not a good actor. You do a decent rat pack member impression. Oh yeah, and you're Canadian. Take it down a notch!

Dec. 13: Is it me or are there only about 30 unique Christmas songs that everyone (and their mother) has done and redone over and over again? And over again. I'm looking at you Buble.

Dec. 18: I think I should notify the government of the torturous quality of hearing Felice Navidad on repeat. Adios water boarding... Hello Navidading!

Dec. 19: He saw mommy kissing Santa Claus? That's terrible. Can we discuss the emotional damage from this traumatic sight? The song's a bit too upbeat I think. Even the coolest new bike isn't going to erase the burned image and notion that his mom is a huge slut.

Dec 23: OK. Enough!! I've had my fill. All good until next year. Except for a few, which I am still somehow able to listen to each and every time:

My top 5 holiday songs:

All I Want For Christmas, Mariah Carey: This was always a solid top ten entry for my list until I found out (only in the past few years, weirdly) that this classic isn't truly a classic at all. This is not Mariah Carey kicking butt on a well known song, this is Mariah Carey writing and producing (ok, co-writing and co-producing) one of the best Christmas songs ever. Well done M. She bumped her significance factor with that one, and secured a spot in my holiday top 3.

Do They Know It's Christmas: The 1984 Band Aid version, not the completely unnecessary cheap, cheesy version put out by US pop stars in more recent years. Unnecessary Remake Alert!!
A classic holiday song as well as a wonderful way of raising money for a great cause. (see my post "the best nation is do-nation" for my thoughts on good vs. bad ways of fundraising)

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: Sappy and sentimental, but warms me better than a nice fire!

This Christmas, Donny Hathaway: It's just a great Christmas song that makes me happy.

On a technicality, I will submit three songs under this one sub-heading:
Songs I Don't Think Should Only Be Played At Christmas:
Fairytale of New York, The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl; Celebrate Me Home, Kenny Loggins and Last Christmas, Wham!: Regardless of the name, I don't think that Last Christmas should only be played this time of year. I love Wham! And I love this song. So much so that it is my karaoke go-to... but not in December. That would be lame. Make this my formal plea to the radio stations to break from tradition and play these songs all year long!
I would add Bruce's Santa Claus is Coming To Town here, but as much as I get a total kick out of Clarence making him giggle through the end of the song, they really went for it with the jingling bells so I'm not sure I could do that all year long.

While I'm here... I will also submit a few of my least favorites:

Felice Navidad: see above... simply torturous.

Carol of the Bells: As if the holidays aren't stressful enough! This song makes me unnecessarily anxious. Just hearing the quick paced choir singing makes my heart beat faster. And now that I sing "give a, give a, give a, give a Garmin" instead of "merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas" I see the joy of the holidays ripped away from me with the dinging of these Christmas bells.

The Chipmunk Song: I'll admit to not always hating it... but it's late in the season and their voices are annoying.

Tell me what holiday songs bring you joy and which make you say "Bah, Humbug!"

Oh yeah, and have yourself a merry little Christmas now!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The best nation is do-nation

If I disappear shortly after this post is published, you will all know I was seriously on to something.

There is a lot that makes me suspicious. Granted, I am a bit more paranoid in this new day and age where it seems more people seek out their livelihood by taking advantage of other people than by putting in actual hard work. There are certain things that just don't add up, and maybe there are genuine red flags worth pointing out.

Why does the small indie book store across the street from me never have the book I want? You're a book store... at least offer to order it for me. Why do the cheap shoe stores open and immediately put a SALE sign in the window? Surely you're going to have a go at selling your goods at full price first, no? How in the world can these nail places afford to charge only $10 to paint my nails for over 30 minutes, pay the lady who did it and pay rent? My guess is that they are all fronts for something else. And "kill me" cabs (livery cabs to the average person, but also known as "black cabs" before you could stick a phone number bumper sticker and T-license plate on any colored car) are they as dangerous as I fear them to be? I mean in a lock you inside and drive you somewhere to steal your organs way, not referring to their gradual lane drifts or random breaking while accelerating.

But suspicions run particularly deep when I am approached on the street by a perky 20 something carrying a clipboard. I object to them blocking the sidewalks and desperately wanting to talk to me about something.  The assumption that any person can spare time to chat about their cause seems ridiculous to me. Their "pick-up"" lines are ludicrous and very often discredit their organization more than they help it.

In many cases I actually do support their cause, but legitimately just don't have the time to talk. Do they have to use such awkward lines that make me feel like a jerk if I can't stop? "Ma'am, a minute if you support gay rights?" Well, I do support gay rights. But I don't have a minute... does that make everyone around us now think I don't support gay rights? That's not fair. Can't I somehow support them and not miss my train?

To the Planned Parenthood boy who sees me walking with a stroller and says "I bet you like kids." Um, yes, I do. In fact I am about to have one having a complete meltdown because it's 30 minutes past nap time and you are preventing me from getting home as quickly as possible... I do like kids, and I can assume that if you keep me for one more minute, you will no longer like kids.

I suppose the part that really concerns me is that in this day and age, is it advisable to stop on the street and give a stranger your name, telephone number and *gasp* credit card information? It just seems like one of those dumb a$$ things that you hear someone did and you say, well duh! why would you do that? Do people really do that? Why?!?

And I'm not just saying this because I've been burned in the past. Did I buy ten tickets to a comedy club because technically I was getting them for the price of only three? Yes. I never used them. Did I buy $500 worth of salon treatments for only $75... of course. And then on the day I could actually use them the salon is overbooked and I ended up with a half hearted eyebrow wax and a terrible blowout (I'm guessing $50 max). Plus tip.

But I guess those experiences helped turn me from an open minded deal seeker into the skeptical, untrusting woman who doesn't believe that this is really what this young generation has to do to make money these days. In fact, are these even legitimate jobs? I'm pretty sure I could go out and make a t-shirt that says anything half credible sounding and carry a clipboard. Is that all I have to do to get people's names, addresses, credit card information (or better yet, cash?). Am I just some sort of cynical, evil person that I don't really trust all of these people? Ok, the World Wildlife Fund I've heard of, but Children's International? I mean, sure, it sounds legit, but admit it, it also sounds kinda fake. It's just believable enough, and it has the word children in it, so it must be real, right?

Why are these organizations paying people to stand in the street collecting money? Is that a good use of the donations they do get? On behalf of the polar bear I will say it is not.

I will cite the 12.12.12 concert as a very good way of soliciting donations. I'm relaxing at home in the evening being entertained by a star-studded concert, of course I'm going to call in and donate. Hello Eddie Vedder! *swoon* Well played Robin Hood Foundation. Though I will note that their name also sounds too fake to be real, but, in Bruce we trust.

I think I will stick with the charities that I can seek out in person, or on the phone or online to make contributions to in the comfort of my own home over a secure internet connection. Untrusting? Definitely. Impatient? Absolutely. Overprotective of my personal information. For sure. Gonna buy a bridge while walking down the street? Hopefully not again.