The Mountain Goats is one of those bands that has been around seemingly forever, creating a steady stream of great music year after year. I discovered them about fifteen years ago when a friend recommended their album, “We Shall All Be Healed”.
That same year they released “The Sunset Tree” which includes one of my favorite songs of all time (from any performer), “This Year”. It’s a surprisingly upbeat tune in which the singer declares his intention to escape an abusive home environment.
Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri has posted her insightful and very funny list/ranking of 100 Christmas songs. With two exceptions (71 and 2), none of her choices are in my collection, to which these fine musical works are being added this year.
All of them should available in your favorite digital store or streaming service. So listen and enjoy.
- Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) – Ramones
- The Big Opening (Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch) – Danny Elfman
- Monster’s Holiday – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
- I’m Not Ready for Christmas – Alicia Witt
- Deck the Halls – Walk Off the Earth
- Come On Santa – The Raveonettes
- Fall in Love This Christmas – Dia Frampton
- Mele Kalikimaka – The Monkees
- A Marshmallow World – Walk Off the Earth
- Holiday – Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, James Corden, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & The Bergens
- Christmas Is You – Swear And Shake
- Santa’s Messin’ with the Kid – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- The Nice List – Dia Frampton
- Christmas Tree – Zac Brown Band (feat. Sara Bareilles)
- 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
- Making Christmas – The Citizens of Halloween & Danny Elfman
- Auld Lang Syne – The Cast
Photo is of Georgetown as seen from Kennedy Center on the foggy Christmas eve of 2014, and posted to my Flickr account. I have great hopes for Flickr under it’s new, non-corporate owners in the new year.
There’s much to like about Stephen Cobert’s Late Show that debutedÂ last September, starting with the opening credits. The visuals are hard to describe, a video flyover of New York scenes, modified using techniques that make the imagesÂ look like a combination of miniatures and a color saturated drawing, slightly out of focus at the edges to give a dream-like feeling.
Many differentÂ inexpensive and free image editing programsÂ allow amateurs like me to play with the technique (like one of myÂ pretty lame attempts at the right) but it takes real artistry to create the 45 seconds that open Colbert’s program every night.
Now the show has released a longer, “director’s cut” version of the opening videoÂ with about 90 secondsÂ of unreleased footage. As a bonus, it’s backed by the full version of the show’s wonderful jazz-funk musical theme. Go. Watch. Enjoy.
And I’ll go back to playing with myÂ software.
Last week, Jon Stewart presented a great segment on the array of nutty conspiracy theories that seem to thrive in the desert of Texas. Having lived in Arizona and Nevada, I think there could be something to the idea that the hot, dry weather causes the brain to swell (or shrink?).
Anyway, I have my own conspiracy theory to offer: the probability of any conspiracy actually being real declines by 5% for each additional person whose silence is required for the plan to work.
Moon landing hoax? Alien spacecraft being hidden at Area 51 (for more than 50 years)? The US military preparing to invade Texas? Considering the hundreds of people required to keep each of these secrets, all in negative territory of likelihood.
Government agencies conspiring to collect phone data on American citizens? That only took one person, and not even someone high up the chain of command, to expose the deal.
Many, if not most, of these people who claim to see what everyone else has missed (too often on cable “news” channels) also rant endlessly about the incompetency of government. Even though, logically, it is completely impossible for an incompetent organization to formulate complex plots and then keep them totally hidden from everyone except a few loud nutballs.
Of course, logic doesn’t seem to be their strong suit in the first place.
Speaking of STEM, this has been buzzing throughÂ my warped little head since yesterday’s post.
Someone with more talent and resources needs to reimagine this classic sketch for today’s education reform debate.
STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM,Â STEM… Wonderful STEM!
The result would beÂ silly and pointless, which would be appropriate.