My Favorite Christmas Songs…WTF Edition

I love Christmas, even though I’m Jewish. I celebrate both holidays (in a way) because most of my friends are Christians and I like the traditions. I even like the music, although by now I’m over it. They started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and I can’t take it any more.

That said, I have a few favorites that you don’t often hear on the radio or at the supermarket (a few of them you do, but they’re still awesome). Some of them you might like, some…you get the idea.

Here they are, my favorite Christmas (and a couple of Hannukah) songs.

Merry Christmas From the Family–Robert Earl Keene

A beautiful slice of redneck life. It’s warm, endearing, and hilarious.

The Dreidel Song–South Park

The layered lyrics in this song are perfect. Parker and Stone have a talent for songcraft (and dick jokes)

You’re a Mean One Mister Grinch–Sung by Tim Timebomb and Friends

I inherited my late girlfriend’s love of Tim Armstrong. The song is a classic, and there’s something about Tim’s graveled, broken voice that I freakin’ love. Merry Christmas, Valerie.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town–Sung by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

This is Bruce in all of his glory. If you haven’t seen Bruce in concert, make it happen.

Christmastime For the Jews–Darlene Love on SNL

I never get tired of this. It’s so true (I’m having Chinese food tonight)

River–Joni Mitchell

This is one of the most beautiful Christmas songs ever. It captures the sadness that so many of us feel during the holidays, so far away from our loved ones or having none at all.

O Holy Night–South Park (Cartman)

This is brilliant. I know I posted a South Park one before, but I can’t resist. I also thought about adding “It’s Hard to be a Jew on Christmas,” but two songs is enough.

Ok, I think that’s all for now. Merry Christmas everyone!


I didn’t realize how long it’s been since I’ve posted a blog entry. I’m surprised because I’ve been pretty busy on the site, along with my facebook fan page and my other site devoted to wrestling.

As for this site, I added a few new categories. One is my collection of music history articles, which I’m going to tie in to Song of Simon. For those of you that have read the novel, you know how important music is thematically. It functions as a greek chorus of sorts. I love music, especially old blues and folk that you don’t hear much of anymore. Even my music is stuck in the past.

Right now there are two up, but I have a ton more. I meant to post one on “This Land Is Your Land” for Woody’s birthday yesterday, but I flaked.

Everyday I got the blues, even if I went back in time.

The second category is a collection of essays modified from my Creative Writing lesson plans. There’s only one up now, but more will come.

The third is on New York history, which ties directly into The Watchmage of Old New York. I don’t have any essays written yet, but I’m a fat, stinking, treasure trove of knowledge here.

It’s like a Russian Nesting Doll, only it smells like urine.

I don’t actually stink, and I’m considerably less fat than I was, but you get the picture.

Speaking of Watchmage, I’m still shopping around the first novel, and I’m revising the first ten chapters of the second, tentatively titled “Cold Iron.” For those of you that remember, this story arc in the serial was called “The Great Goblin Revolt.” The serial is still up, by the way, and still free.

Ok, that’s all for now. I’m off to play some Happy Wars.

“The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” — Walt Whitman
Song of Simon from Damnation Books. Available on site, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local book store.
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Till We Outnumber ’em: A tale by Woody Guthrie, Retold (poorly) by Me

Two rabbits were chased though the woods by a pack of fierce bloodhounds. They ran and they ran, finally taking shelter in a hollow log. The hounds surrounded them and barked. They stuck their snouts in the log, baring their teeth, but couldn’t reach the rabbits.

The first rabbit shivered in fear. He said to the other, “What do we do?”

The second one, she stayed calm. “Don’t worry. We’ll just stay in here till we outnumber ’em.”

This machine kills fascists.

Take Me to Church, by Hozier

Holy shit, if you thought the song was powerful, take a look at this amazing video. I’m still stunned, so stunned that I had to blog about it.
Yes, I realize that I’m late to the party, but it only recently started getting air play in the USA.

Words don’t usually fail me, but anything I say about this video will only take away from it.

Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger

I’ve been thinking about this post for years.

I used to cover music for several magazines back in the day, especially in the New York area.  Part of the responsibility was to write obituaries, and I remember one day thinking that i’d have to write one for Pete.  I swatted the thought down, not being able to think that far into the future.  Then I wrote one for his brother Mike.  Then last year I wrote one for his wife Toshi.  I knew it was going to happen, and I knew that it would hurt me bad.

I met Pete several times.  I am a regular at his Clearwater Festival, the music festival that supports his environmental group, Clearwater.  As I child, I went on a field trip and sailed on the Clearwater.  I never forgot the rocking of the waves or the singing crew.  It’s one of my fondest memories.

There will be other obits out there that go into all his accomplishments, all the fantastic songs he wrote or popularized, the way he stood up to Joe McCarthy and embraced the Civil Rights Movement, his support of the New York music scene, his dedication to the environment.  Maybe they’ll talk about the movement to nominate him for a Nobel Prize. That’s all academic.

What they can’t tell you is how he made you feel. He made you want to sing.

I never did a full interview with him, but I talked to him many times.  He had a way about him, and when he spoke, you listened.  Not that he was the kind of voice that demanded attention.  It was the other way around.  He was humble and easy going, but possessed of a simple wisdom that made you want to listen for hours.  He made you want to sing.

He was tall.  Really tall. Until you’ve seen him in person, you don’t realize just how tall he was.  Even at 94, he was still this white-haired beanpole in a fisherman’s hat.  He gave off this air of mental and spiritual strength. He made you want to sing.

And so we sang.  He took the stage and led us, and we sang.  Great waves of people singing “Turn Turn Turn” or “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” while he played the long neck banjo or the 12 string.  People of every gender, color and class joining their voices into one.

Pete Seeger is gone, but songs last forever.  Sing for Pete’s sake.

Sing for Pete’s sake

Black Friday?

I don’t understand why they call it Black Friday. I mean, it’s a great song, but Steely Dan has written much better ones.

How about we call dec 19th “Hey Nineteen?”

If anything, we should call it Green Friday, since Shakespeare’s green-eyed monster takes so many people over.  I for one, don’t shop on Black Friday.  I hate shopping, I hate crowds, they give me panic attacks.  Going to the store during the worst shopping day of the year could possibly kill me.  I’d rather stay at home at kvetch about consumerism like the pretentious jackass I am.

Speaking of pretentious jackasses, I’m stunned that Family Guy killed off Brian.  He was my favorite character, my brother in douchebaggery. Dear Brian, in heaven, “Faster Than the Speed of Love” is a best seller. Here’s my favorite Brian moment.