Santa Gave Me Christmas Shingles!

December 22, 2015 is a day that will remain with me forever, literally, on my face, in my ear and along my jaw. After days of self-diagnosis via Google and the internet, my dermatologist told me Santa arrived early and gifted me with Shingles!

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A Tree Dies in Rockefeller Center

I heard discouraging news on the radio this morning that the “Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree” had been felled and was on its way to Manhattan from Mount Olive, New Jersey.  I never understood why we needed to cut down a real tree just to watch it die adorned with 45,000 lights in the Rockefeller Center public square.  The additional bad news that, this season, the tree had actually “survived” the wrath of mother nature and Hurricane Sandy — only to be cut down days later by men with chainsaws — made me realize the whole thing is a false idol tradition that needs to end in the faux name of “celebrating” the birth of Baby Jesus with a dead tree.

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Jazzing the Holidays

If you have any sort of mainstream musical career, one of your best bets for creating an afterlife legacy is to record a Christmas album or two or ten.  Every sugary Pop star for the last 30 years has some sort of wintertime holiday album for sale.  Bing Crosby is the reigning king of the Christmas album and his fine, monetary example, is what leads all new singers-in-search-of-longevity into lining up to record these, often tired, musical memes.

I prefer my holiday music with a Jazz tinge and I’ll share with you three of my all-time favorite albums.  First up is magnificent Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell’s “Have Yourself a Soulful Little Christmas” where he fires up his six-string archtop and lets us have it right between the eyes.  Kenny’s playing is always dynamic and ferocious and he adds tremendous energy and innovation into these seasonal standards.  Kenny’s whipping strings will hypnotize you and set you back on your heels.  He sets the jewel standard in Jazz guitar no matter the tonal topic.

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Blues, Blues Christmas Review

Yesterday, I was hankerin’ for a hunk o’ Blues holiday music.  I hopped onto iTunes and found — “Blues, Blues Christmas” — a collect of 52 songs recorded between 1925-1955.

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A Bob Dylan Christmas

Our beloved Bob Dylan is releasing his first Christmas album on October 13, 2009.  Bob is our rock, our touchstone, and the magical mind that took folk music from acoustic and into the wired sound of really rolling rock.

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Down Syndrome Baby in a Box

This incredible image is allegedly Sarah Palin’s 2008 Christmas card.  I say “allegedly” because I am hoping against all reason Sarah Palin did not put her “son” Trig — an 8.5 month-old Down Syndrome baby — in a box eating a bow just to create a “cute” Christmas card.

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On Finding Joy

Now is the time of the year when we must inventory our incendiaries and countenance our joy.

Enjoy your friends.

Welcome your enemies.

Live to fight another joyous day.