Thursday, December 25, 2008

Putting the Christ back in Christmas...



And now that we've successfully restored our Lord and Savior to His proper spot in His own birthday celebration, Jesus and I wish you all a Happy Christmas! And a blessed New Year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Putting the Christ back in Christmas...

...with Gumby and Jesus holding hands! Isn't that what this holiday is all about?



By the way, this is a parody of the "Otters Holding Hands" video that I featured a while back.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Holiday Gift From Me to You!

You had to know this one was coming. I mean, really.

Since I've been giving the gift of music for the holidays here at the Eddie-torial HQ, it was inevitable that one of my gift-giving days would feature my beloved Goddess of Music, the inimitable, ineffable Emmylou Harris.

She's spoken a lot in interviews and concerts about how she is drawn to songs that reflect the more moody, melancholy side of life. As a person prone to both moodiness and melancholic phases, I can totally relate. I love happy fun music too, but the stuff that truly resonates and sticks with me is the darker stuff.

I think that explain the appeal that Americana music has for me, especially songs based on bluegrass and traditional tunes. Like a lot of people, I sometimes look to entertainment media as an escape from the pressures of life. More often, though, I look for entertainment that actually helps me cope rather than escape. You can only escape for sho long, eventually you have to return. I tend to prefer stuff that sticks with me and reminds me that not only to other people have to put up with a lot of shit too, but that they can and do survive and cope.

In that spirit, I give you Emmylou Harris:

This duet with John Prine is a hoot. He wrote the song, which is a little off-color, and originally sang it with Iris Dement. The video is totally crappy, but it's worth enduring to see Ms. Emmy do that hip shake on the chorus! She really hams it up!



This is from her latest release, about which I have more to say later. That's Buddy Miller playing the guitar with her. The doomed love of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.P._Carter was probably one of the first celebrity scandals in country music. BONUS: Go here and see the family tree of this legendary family.



An oldie, but an absolute favorite--"Rose of Cimarron."



You know when Steve Earle and Emmylou get together the results are going to be: a) extremely good and b) extremely sad.



Happy Holidays from Steve, John, Emmylou (the Goddess of Music) and me!

Putting the Christ back in Christmas...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Putting the Christ back in Christmas...

it is absolutely appalling to everyone here at the Eddie-torial Headquarters the way that Jesus has gotten pushed to the side during the celebration of His own birthday. This whole insistence that there are other celebrations taking place this time of year, most of which are older than Christianity is galling to the core. In an effort to combat this encroaching liberal, secular war on Christmas, we have scoured the YouTube to bring you the best in videos expressing the proper sentiments of reverence for our Lord and Savior. From now until December 25, we will be presenting one each day to restore the Christ to Christmas. We hope that they bless you richly.



Happy holidays, indeed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas Bully!

Been watching quite a few cartoons lately. More than in years, in fact. Part of it is that there are some shows on Cartoon Network that I'm enjoying right now. Part of it is that Cartoon Network has been showing some longer animated features I've wanted to see. And part of it is my old friend Boomerang and the nostalgia thing. I've even been dipping into my stack of unwatched anime DVD's. But all of that is a subject for another time.

Nevertheless, all of this consuming and thinking about animation has made me think about one of my favorite bloggers, namely Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull. Bully's one of my blogging heroes. Not only is he the cutest blogger out there (sorry Dorian!), but he writes with a combination of wit, innocence and insight that continually supports the central tenet of his blog: Comics oughta be fun, and if they aren't, then shame on them! He's also incredibly well-read.

Many bloggers have a regular weekly feature or two that keeps content flowing to their blogs, but Bully may actually have more than anybody else: Wodehouse a Week, Separated at Birth, Ten of a Kind, and my favorite: Saturday Morning Cartoons, a celebration of the best and most fun animated material YouTube has to offer. (now you see where this post is going...)

So, when I started to think about saluting some of my favorite bloggers and giving them gifts for the holidays via my blog, Bully was easy to "shop" for. I'm giving him one of my favorite video--Chicos de Barrio doing the Mucha Lucha theme song, featuring a gazillion clips from the show.

¡Es la tradiciĆ³n!




Merry Christmas, Bully!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Let's not cop out again, shall we?

So much that I really want to write about, but I can't because it's work-related. Discretion is the better part of valor sometimes. Not that all of it is negative, mind you. I'm in the midst of getting a promotion and a permanent slot under a director I've been trying to work with for over a year now. Still, there are some long shadows hanging over our department, leftovers from really bad choices for management, and the economic situation is starting to hit us hard. We're not out of the woods by any means, but things look a damn sight better at the end of the year than they did at the beginning.

This Christmas will mark seven years in the house for us. We moved in Christmas Eve 2001. We gave the movers a ginormous tip to get us in the house as soon as humanly possible. Then we set up the bed, took a long nap, and got ready for Christmas. Since we had no tree, we bought two Santa statues at a department store and set them up on a little cart the previous owner had left in the house. We put our presents on the cart. It was a sweet spot in a chaotic spot.

Keith freaked me out this afternoon, returning from his camping trip with a huge gash on his head. (Who camps in December? Not me for sure!) He slipped on some rocks in a lake bed and gashed himself on a sharp rock. He's a little sore, but seems to be okay. He's now banned from wintertime camping.

This is going to be one of those weeks where getting work done is a challenge. We have a holiday party for our department tomorrow afternoon. I've got a pot of chili going for it right now, and I still have a cake to bake. On Wednesday, I have an out of town meeting for the new position. Thursday, there's a retirement lunch for a colleague, then I have to do a training all afternoon. Friday is a staff meeting for the new position, where I'm going to be introduced to the team I'll be leading. This is followed by yet another holiday get-together. Compounding this is the fact that I moved inot a new office right before Thanksgiving, and I'm still unpacking.

When I start in the new position in January, I'm going to have to hit the ground running. I've got several slots to fill, a renewal grant to write, a report to prepare, and an evaluation to conduct. My predecessor would stay until 9 or 10 at night to get everything done. I don't intend to do that.

Hopefully, I'll get my baking started (and finished) this week. I've got the ingredients assembled. I just need to get my pans and racks up from the basement and get started. I'm hoping to make some new hard candies this year. This is also going to be the year that I'm going to best my nemesis: old fashioned chocolate fudge. It's been two or three years since I've been able to get a batch to set up right. We'll see. If I remember to set up the laptop in the kitchen, I might liveblog one night of baking. Or at least live tweet.

Despite the lazy tone of my tweets today, I did get a lot of cleaning in the kitchen done today in preparation for the baking. I still need to vacuum though. I also need to get the living room straightened so that we can get the tree. Last week was so crazy, though, that I really did need the rest this weekend.

My, what a Chatty Cathy I've been tonight. With such a boring post. This is what I mean when I say "rambly" in the blog description. Oh well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Got Nothing People!

Absolutely nothing!

Not even a video.

That's sad.

But I'm braindead. Really.

Come back tomorrow.

Bye.

Good night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Holiday Gift From Me to You!

Okay, so it's not exactly classic rock, but it is the music of my younger days. There's just something about 80's pop that both cheers me up and calms me down after all the stresses of the day. Partly, it's nostalgia (of course), but partly i think it's because there has never been another period where mainstream Top 40 radio was so much sheer fun.

Since I know that this is a busy time for everyone, I offer two classics to release your mind from the cares of the day and send you on a trip to your happy place.

The Bangles:




The Go-Go's:



Love the headband Belinda is rocking in this one!

Of course, if the 80's music brings with it such a happy, fun vibe, why are my two fave Top 40 bands from the period groups who sent through such rancorous break-ups?

Ah, but that is a question for another time. In the meantime, enjoy the music, dance a little, and enjoy best holiday wishes from Belinda, Jane, Charlotte, Gina, Kathy, Michael, Susanna, Vicki, Debbi, and me!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Can't Believe I Forgot Hazel!

Keith called me at work this morning to point out that I had forgotten to include the great and ever fabulous Hazel Dickens on my list of legends I've seen perform. Not sure how I managed to do that, but I did. I was as excited about seeing her at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass a few years ago as I was to see Emmylou. (Believe it or not.)

In penance, here's Hazel herself in action:



Forgive me, Hazel. No offense intended.

I'm all done in and off to bed for the night.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

RIP Odetta

I was really shocked to read about Odetta's death a few days ago. We were fortunate to see her in concert a couple of years ago. It was obvious then that she was feeling the effects of age--she wasn't able to leave the stage and come back out for an encore, so she graciously accepted our applause onstage and then launched into her encore--but her voice was strong and she was wry and witty the whole night.

Her death has got me thinking about other "living legends" of music that I've been lucky enough to see, as well as the ones I never got to see and wish I had, and the ones I would still like to see while I still have a chance. Which then got me thinking about posting about it. Which then made me say, "Oh why not?"

To make one of these lists, a performer has to have been alive and performing during my adult lifetime. No fantasies about time traveling to see Patsy Cline, Hank WIlliams or Buddy Holly. I'm limiting to my adult years to focus in on the time when I have both my own income and the ability to decide how to use it.

The "legend" part is harder to pin down. For me, I think it would include someone whose career began either before I was born (1964) or within a few years of that blessed event, whose career has continued to the present, and who is regarded as having had a significant impact on music. I think that's a workable definition for this purpose. I know it's all still relative and we could argue all day about who is or is not a "legend." But I wanted to limit the boundaries a bit so that this would not turn into laundry lists of my favorite artists.

So here we go:

ARTISTS I NEVER GOT TO SEE

Bill Monroe (who performed for free in a park down the street from our apartment a couple of years before he died. I still kick myself for not going. Keith went. I didn't. I am an idiot.)
Lily Mae Ledford
Johnny Cash
June Carter Cash
Utah Phillips


THOSE I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SEE

Odetta
Ralph Stanley
Bob Dylan
Doc Watson
Jean Ritchie
The Holmes Brothers
Earl Scruggs
Homer Ledford

THOSE I WOULD STILL LIKE TO SEE WHILE I HAVE A CHANCE

Willie Nelson
Loretta Lynn
Joan Baez
Pete Seeger
Rambling Jack Elliott
Richard and Linda Thompson

Actually, I guess I've pretty lucky overall. I have gotten to see some great performers from previous generations. My regrets list is short (although missing Bill Monroe will be such a mark of shame for me). And my still to see list is manageable as long as everyone stays in good health.

The most interesting part of doing this little exercise was dealing with my arbitrary dividing line. If I had just shifted it another decade, I could have included so many influential favorites on the seen list: John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, and of course Emmylou Harris, But then my not seen list would include both Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. And my regrets list would have to include Townes Van Zandt.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Under the weather

I'm not feeling well. Came home from work early to get some sleep. Going back to bed. Have a video of a cat fighting a printer to tide you over.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Small Talk

Don't feel like writing a lot tonight, so I'll be doing some links and bits instead. For anyone wondering after yesterday's post, the forgiveness phase has apparently kicked in, although Kosh is still very clingy.


Last night was Bardstown Road Aglow, which is one of my favorite times of the holiday season. I'll probably write it up tomorrow. I took the camera, but it was too cold and windy to mess with.


Roger is giving away some free stuff
, and you still have time to sign up for it!


Top Shelf is having a holiday sale. So is Bloodshot Records. One ends this weekend, but the other one goes on until the end of the month. One of them is one of my favorite comics publishers--home to talents such as James Kochalka and Jeffrey Brown. The other is one of my favorite music labels--specializing in subversive country bands and home to Justin Townes Earl, The Gore Gore Girls, and the my much beloved Meat Purveyors.


If you're looking to make some socially responsible choices this season, Alley Cat Allies is a cause I support. They work to protect feral cats by educating community leaders, lawmakers, and local governments about the effectiveness of Trap-Neuter-Release as a humane way to control stray cat populations. A feral cat that is captured and sent to a shelter will inevitably be euthanized, because ferals are difficult if not impossible to socialize to humans, which makes them unadoptable. You can make donations as gifts in honor of friends and relatives here.

World Wildlife Fund has a fabulous selection of gifts that educate about endangered species and the risks to the environment posed by climate change. You can adopt a species in someone's honor and receive an adorable plush toy version to give your honoree!


And just because I feel like it, here's a video of the Cherryholmes step dancing:



Good night!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Merry Christmas Bennie, Kosh, and Chiquito!

We had to board all the cats yesterday, so we could have some stuff done on the house without worrying about them getting out. None of them like these little ventures to the vet, especially Bennie, who sits in her cage and does the feline version of cursing at us the whole way there. You don't have to speak feline to know when your sweet, stripey little baby is telling you to let her out of the fucking cage or there will be hell to pay.

We're about to go pick them up, which means another car ride with Bennie in her cage telling us to go fuck ourselves. Honestly, the mouth on that girl. She didn't learn it from me, I swear. This will be followed by a period of hiding from us every time we move, lest we lose our minds again and shove them back in their cages.

Next will come the shunning, which is something to be experienced. You know you've pissed off your cat when he comes room, looks right at you, sits in the middle of the floor and turns his back to you. Nobody pouts like a cat, I'm telling you. Kosh and Bennie both can be prone to drama, so sometimes we have absolutely no idea why we're being shunned, only that one of them has some sort of beef with the management.

Somewhere in here will come the acting out. Kosh and Chiquito will get into a fight or two and run wild through the house. Then they'll jump on Bennie. This is their way of showing us how upset they are. "Look what you made me do. You put me in the cage and took me to that place, so I just have to be bad right now. It's your fault. Yes, it is. Not me. You." That's what they're saying.

Finally will come the clinging. No lap will be empty and Kosh will climb into someone's arms to be held. There will be lots of purring and rubbing and stroking. This is actually the bargaining stage. "If I love you lots and lots and never, ever let you out of my sight, then please please please don't ever do that to me again."

Yes, there's nothing like the after effects of cat trauma. Really.

So, in an effort to appease the furry little critters, I'm offering this gift of a video about a guy who maybe loves cats a little too much. Kind of like a couple of grown men who shall remain nameless.

Merry Christmas, babies!

Friday, December 05, 2008

A Holiday Gift From Me to You!

Kasey Chambers is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I love so many of her songs, but this is my favorite. In fact, I'd probably include it on my list of absolute favorite songs ever. I'm drawn to songs that are both incredibly beautiful and incredibly sad, and "The Captain" certainly fits that category. It's both disturbing and captivating. We saw her i at a club here in Louisville a couple of years ago and she did a solo acoustic version as her encore. It still makes the hair stand up on my arm just thinking about it.

Every so often over the past couple of years, I'd do a search on YouTube for the video, but could never find it. So, I was really surprised to recently turn up not one, but two different videos.

The first one features the version most folks know from The Sopranos. I'm a little annoyed that it's so badly synched, but I'd still like to offer it as a holiday gift:



This version features Chambers and her husband Shane Nicholson. They released an album together this year, which I think is easily one of the best of the year. While Chambers' original version is moving, this stripped-down, understated cabaret-style version is heart-wrenching. I can't get enough of it.



Happy holidays from me and Kasey and Shane!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Fan Entitlement....

Dorian's post comparing video game fan-entitlement and comic fan entitlement got me to pondering something that has bounced around my brain for a couple of years now. I honestly think that when it comes right down to it, neither group can hold the overly-developed sense of entitlement candle to another sector of rabid obsessed fandom: soap opera fanatics.

I'm being serious, here. I don't care how many comic nerds there are pissed because DC won't honor the continuity they established in their Teen Titans/LSH slash fanfic. They simply cannot hold a candle to the hordes of women who grew up watching All My Children while their grandmother was baby-sitting them, skipped high school every time Erica Kane got married, scheduled their college classes around the show, and have named their boys Eric, Kane and Lucci because they didn't have a daughter they could name Erica Kane.



Oh yeah, and they're pissed because ABC won't honor the continuity of the Adam Chandler/Palmer Corlandt slash fanfic they wrote.




Reading soap mags can be pretty annoying these days, since they're full of the same complaining about the same couples not being together any more. Hell, the editor of one mag has a weekly column that serves as nothing but her fan entitlement forum.

What puts soap fans in a league by themselves is their mastery of one particularly annoying technique of self-expression: the fan campaign. These folks take going overboard to a whole new level. Whereas your pissed off self-entitled comics nerd puts a petition up online and rants on every forum he can find, soap nerds devise new ways to give postal carriers back strain.

Let's say that on the venerable soap As the Years Go By fan favorite couple Joaquin and Marguerite are split up. JoaMar* fans group together online to bitch and wail and gnash teeth and a plan is born. They will show those producers and writers! They will teach them to split up a favorite couple! They will convince them to put JoaMar back together posthaste! And they will do it by mailing them something that will express their anger, their frustration, and their dreams for a happy ending for the couple. They will mail them...toothpicks!

It might be that Joaquin is known for having a toothpick in his mouth. It might be that "Toothpick" was his pet name for Marguerite. It might be that the sharp ends of the toothpicks represent the agony that pricks at the heart of every true JoaMar fan. Or it might be that toothpicks were the first thing someone thought of.

Regardless, soon these pissed-off entitled fans are flooding the mailboxes of the studio, the networks, the producers, the writers, and even the actors with boxes and boxes of toothpicks. And they will keep it up until their beloved couple are reunited...or until some other offense raises their ire and sets off a new campaign.

I'm sorry, but there's nothing in comic nerd world to compare. A true self-entitled soap fan can set off a campaign at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a break up or story development they don't approve of. My favorites are the campaigns to keep certain actors on shows. Like getting boxes and boxes of cotton swabs will make someone change their mind about leaving a place where they don't want to work any more.

Sadly, like in comics, it seems like producers are more and more willing to pander to this group, resulting in big event-oriented storylines that run out of steam, endless retreads of past plots, and constant attempts to lure past popular performers back to shows that inevitably end up not using them or trying to recreate twenty-year old love stories that are always less interesting than the originals. And the ratings continue to decline.

Soap opera nerds. Fear them. Avoid them. Like Dorian says, "Nerds ruin everything." It doesn't matter what kind of nerds they are.

*Where do you think tabloids got the idea for combining names into stupid combos like "Brangelina"? They got it from soap fans who've been doing it online for ages!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On the 3rd of December, my favorite infrequently updated blog gave to me...

...Dolly Parton singing songs for Captain Kangaroo!



I mean, really, what more could you possibly need? I kind of miss the days when Dolly played her own guitar all the time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

30 Days Hath December!

ITEM! It's cold and snowy here making it the perfect night for a pot of beans! Mmmm! Beans!

ITEM! Yes, I know thst most of what I'm writing tonight, along with most of what I wrote over the Arkansas trip would have made better updates for the Twitter thingie than blog posts, but I'm trying to get back into the habit of posting again. Please bear with me.

ITEM! Speaking of the Arkansas trip, it ended quite well. I met parts of Keith's family that I had not met previously. I discovered the wonder of shopping at Fred's. We found a coffee shop that makes a decent latte in small town western Arkansas, believe it or not. Keith mother is having a lot of trouble with her knees and a recent surgery has not seemed to help, which was hard to watch. I think it's the first serious indicator we've had that she's getting older. I was glad I was able to go this time. I really do treasure his mom.

ITEM! Meeting the other sides of his family made me think about how similar our upbringings actually were. We've both known for years that we're both small town rural boys who went to the big city to become who we really are, but I don't often actually see him in that setting very often. Or vice versa, for that matter. We met in Louisville, so we didn't see each other in our settings of origin until much later. Even the meeting of the mothers took place up here, so I always tend to think of us in terms of who we are and who we have become instead of where we came from. It's comforting to me somehow to know that there's such similarity to our backgrounds.

ITEM! We were so tired from traveling that our own Thanksgiving was kind of anti-climatic. We slept very very late and didn't eat until even later. But it was very yummy, nonetheless.

ITEM! Not to Roger Green: I'm not oing any more!

ITEM! The annual day after T-giving shopping was kind of anti-climatic as well. I stood outside our beloved Half Price Books for their gift certificate giveaway, only to watch them run out about six people in front of me. Still, their 20% off early bird special allowed me to pick up several hefty graphic novels for less than ten bucks each, which was nice. My comic shop also had a 25% off special on Friday, so I dropped in there too. otherwise, it was a dull day. There were no lines anywhere we went.

ITEM! December is going to be nuts this year. In addition to the usual holiday whirl, including the baking spree to come. Saturday is Bardstown Road Aglow, one my favorite events of the season. I'm in the midst of changing jobs at work, trading in my current position of uncertainty and instability to a new more stable job, that even brings a slight promotion with it. The switch is not official until January 1, but I'm learning the ropes right now, plus doing my old duties, which includes traveling weatherization trainings around town to help our clients prepare their houses for winter. In addition, I'm teaching an adult ed class for our school system. Thankfully that ends soon, but I still have my last lessons to prepare.

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...................

In the midst of all that, I've decided to try to blog every day this month, because things weren't quite crazy enough, you know? Whatever. So, this month, look for holiday gifts for my readers (ha!), presents for my favorite bloggers, and some other stuff, including a bunch of rambling babbling crap passing for writing.