“O Valencia” – The Decemberists

Plain awesome. Closing out December with the nine minute director’s cut of what amounts to a mini-movie for the song “O Valencia.”

“6 to 8 Black Men”

The comparative Christmas lives on with an absolutely hilarious video culled from one of David Sedaris’ stand-up routines about how Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands. This is just too much! (Thanks to my history dept. colleague Amy Harris for pointing this out):

Eartha Kitt, R.I.P (1927-2008)

Eartha Kitt died. On Christmas. Wow, I never thought that day would come. I thought she was immortal. Here she is in 2006 singing “Santa Baby” just weeks before her 80th birthday. Amazing. She’s such an inspiration to take care of oneself and to never get jaded about the beauty and wonderment of life. Heaven just got a little bit brighter:

Hope for a Peaceful 2009

I thought of these two songs last night for the first time in a long time. I found them again because I was thinking about how the world has been really crazy lately with wars, genocide in Congo and elsewhere, murderous rampages, shopping addicts who trample people to death, general financial meltdowns, and greedy bastards who cheat and steal from honorable institutions like the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity (for humanity, for Christ’s sake!). But in spite of all of this I feel that we need to just hold on the best we can. Hold on to hope.

Be nice to one another, change the things that you can for the better, and keep faith. I know, worn-out clichés that might not comfort because it’s all getting so heavy. But let’s just hold on to hope as long as we can. And let’s hope that the amalgamation of hope, faith, and love can be a foundation that anchors our lives and guides us to perform actions that will make this world a better place, a better place in peace.

“Waitin’ for Superman” – The Flaming Lips

“Hold On Hope” – Guided by Voices

The Second Day of Christmas

The Germans of course keep celebrating on the 26th, festive lot that they are. You can find out more about how the German and American Christmases compare to one another on Alex and Jim’s Christmas Special, now with German subtitles, hurrah! Good practice for any of you out there learning German. I’m all for combining traditions to have as many holidays as possible, so here’s to keeping the festivities going all through the 26th with a big eggnog cheer!

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ

You Really Don’t Wanna Face the Wrath of the German Santa

Still can’t get enough of these guys.

Here are Jim and Alex talking about Saint Nikolaus and his dark, little “mini-me”/evil-twin type character Knecht Ruprecht who rolls w/Santa and beats all of the naughty little kids with either a pole, a stick, or some kind of tree root.

And to think that we only give them coal instead of candy! Heck, coal has little remedial value. In fact, a smart little naughty American kid will claim that it is “clean coal” and make a tidy little profit off of it by selling it to a pandering member of Congress. But a good whoppin’ with a birch root? Now that’ll show the little bastards.

Merry Christmas y’all…and Fröhliche Weihnachten! Sretan Božić! in the Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian tongues (although, of course, they celebrate it at different times, but that’s a whole other story).

Making Music with Yr Feet

Man, I so want one of these. This here is a Moog Taurus bass pedal, a foot-operated analog synthesizer that was manufactured between 1976-1981.

It’s made, of course, for people whose hands are busy with other instruments, so if someone also wants to get me a Minimoog it or some such thing for Christmas, I could rock it like this:

Or even better yet, perhaps an autoharp? Here’s PJ Harvey playing both the Taurus and some sort of antique rose-painted autoharp. From 2007’s White Chalk, the beautiful “Grow Grow Grow”

Heck, while we’re dreaming, throw in a lap steel guitar so I can rock it like Robert Randolph and the Family Band. “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That!”:

White Chalk – Polly Jean Harvey

White chalk hills are all I’ve known
White chalk hills will rot my bones
White chalk sticking to my shoes
White chalk playing as a child with you

White chalk sat against time
White chalk cutting down the sea line
I walk the valleys by the surf
On a path cut 1500 years ago

And I know these chalk hills will rot my bones

Dorset cliffs meet at the sea
Where I walk, the unborn child in me
White chalk, poor scattered land

Scratch my palms
There’s blood on my hands

The Kiss

Very nice guitar work by Robert Smith. Such an underrated part of his repertoire. The Cure with “The Kiss”:

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