Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night! Clement Moore

Frozen Tree by Far2way Its Christmas Eve.
Jackie Wilson’s “Joy To The World” I’m exhausted. About 9 inches of snow last night. Not a blizzard according to the local standards. Its just snow.Rudolph Comics
We went and delivered our Secret Santa gifts to all the houses walking through the non-blizzard. It was wonderful fun. I liked leaving big old footprints in all the fresh snow. I liked sticking the little dried veggie Santa packs in the doors and mailboxes. I expect half of them are already waiting for the garbage pick-up. I don’t care about that.
I still had to take the garbage out. Garbage men don’t get Christmas Eve off. Doesn’t seem fair.
When we came in from Secret Santa’ing I warned my friend that the man gate wasn’t closing properly and to be careful of the dogs. Of course I ignored my own good advice and when I was Frozen Tundra by NFL Films halfway down the drive with my arms full of garbage the giant dog suddenly bounded in front of me, went into play posture and leapt away. The gentle dog run past next, slowing down only to say high before he dashed along. My puppy came up beside me and asked if I needed a hand with anything . . .
I had to go out and stop too cars who were creeping along as the two big dogs ran back and forth across the street. Miraculously my puppy actually did a sit stay. I think she was amused.
Then I got my Christmas miracle. I yelled at the dogs and they very nonchalantly trotted up the drive way and waited for me to properly open the man gate so they could go back into their yard.
I discovered a stupid stray cat has taken up residence in the dog house in the yard. I put food outGirls Bravo for it and then fought with the dogs to not eat its cat food. I figure our stupid cat invited the stray in, told it what a sucker I was.
I didn’t get the Christmas cookies made. Shoveled an amazing amount of snow.
We also got a pretty nice Christmas present from Snow Boys by Subo Sitro my friends ex-secretary. Orchestra seats for the Chinese Wushu Show. How totally cool. The theater actually delivered them. He wouldn’t come in for coffee.
The only disappointment is that the ex-secretary won’t be joining us. I would have liked that too. I’m greedy that way.
Watching it snow was pretty. Last night should have been Christmas Eve. It was near perfect in tone, setting and silence.
“It’s always Christmas in my heart,” or some such in some song.

Christmas Eve is the time for some of the old traditional songs. Cool stuff that becomes loved via familiarity and repetition.
Lou Christie does an old fashioned take on “O Holy Night”. I always thought it was a bit arch that Christie toured with his sister who sang back up on all of his cool racy hits.
For some people its not Christmas until they get some Johnny Mathis and Percy Faith, for them Santa Is Coming here’s Johnny Mathis and Faith’s klazzik, “Sleigh Ride”.
Jackie Wilson was one of the greatest performers in music. He worked hard and knew how to inject emotion into a tune that didn’t involve just yelling and groveling (which are not bad things at all) Wilson laid his soul bare. Jackie Wilson’s “Joy To The World” is a bit too respectful to the original to really soar but it has a sweetness and power of its own.
Eric Johnson brings his refined technique to the fore on his touching version of “The First Nowell”.
El Vez put on the greatest Christmas Show I’ve ever seen at the Garage in Islington. He wore a plasticky Santa Claus suit that wobbled around insanely. The Elvettes wore Red fur trimmed mini skirts and red fur trimmed halter tops and Santa hats (faux fur of course). While his back up band,Santa Claus Funnies The Memphis Mariachis, wore white shirts, string ties with enameled Christmas Wreathes and Santa hats. El Vez did stuff like this cool “Feliz Navi-Nada”. For me you need El Vez to really believe its Christmas.
Not to be outdone very hip band It Dies Today does its own grind on “Feliz Navidad”.
Christmas Card In a similar vein Haste The Day rips through “O Come Emanuel”. Very fast and cool.
Semi techno band Belle and Sebastian do their own take on the tune with “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”.
Now we’ll take a break while The Beach Boys exhort you to give some toys to the kids Keola Beamer shows that the Hawaiian slack guitar is truly an awesome style with his “Do You Hear What I Hear”.
Pollo del Mar does an unforgettable version of “Carol of the Bells”.
While a jazz guitar legend shows he has chops. Chet Baker’s take on “Silent Night” will chill you out.
Christmas Night The Rooks were a nearly great band. They only did two albums but buried in there was a heartfelt christmas tune. The Rooks “Christmas Is Here” rocks well enough to not get embarrassing.
Darlene Love proves she’s got the key to Christmas in her heart with this cool “All Alone On Christmas”. This is the best version of the track I could find.
Jeff Beck can still fly with “Amazing Grace”. Its oddly lushly arranged but Beck’s guitar always soars.
One band that’s never done a Christmas song is Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies. They should. Maybe they already have. This raw version of a Jackson 5 number touches and warms the heart the way a Christmas song should. Until you hear Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies destroy “I’ll Be There” you’re missing a big part of the holiday feeling. At least the way I feel it.
I could go on for days. I could but I can’t. I have to help my puppy write her blog post. I’ve got a foot of snow to shovel and dogs to pet.
Merry Christmas.

Christmas is coming, it will soon be here Paul Fix

Forgotten Memories by Reece Townsend
Click images for desktop size: “Forgotten Memories” by Reece Townsend
Yesterday we go distracted.
We went out to get dog food and the feed store had a living Nativity scene. No people but plenty ofDennis the Menace sheep, a donkey and a CAMEL!!
The animals were all fat and happy. Maybe the donkey had a bit of consternation. He kept his ass (that’s a pun, son) under the heat lamp and mulishly refused to move!
Inside they had free hot cider and free candy canes! It was totally cool. No one, a couple of Santa
“Santa’s Sleigh” by Unknown
customers maybe, was agitated or cranked on anything but good will. We got food and a Christmas treat for the dogs.
My friend had spent a lot of time petting the lambs. When we got home we were disappointed that the giant dog, who is childishly jealous, didn’t seem to care or react to the sheep smells at all.
I wanted to take the dogs back to see the animals, which was probably a bad idea and vetoed by the driver.
It was still the nicest monderful Christmas thing I’d ever seen. Everyone was lost in it for a least a little while. We did some grocery shopping. Even in the middle of the day all the stores and parking lots were jammed and went home to recover.
I finished vacuum sealing the Secret Santa doggie treats. Our dogs are still bewildered by this bagging up of stuff that should belong to them.
Happy Holidays
Click images for desktop size: “Happy Holidays” by Unknown
I did some more shoveling. Then we tried to watch some movies. “Transporter 3” was a disappointment. Got up t the 2nd big fight scene then cut it off. Corey Yuen, the guy who directed the first one, knew how to film fights. This one has some dufus American so instead of watching the surprising speed and grace of Jason Stratham we get a lot of fast cuts and a mysteriously shaky camera that gets real annoying.
They’re also disemboweled the Frank Martin character, who used to be very cool, pragmatic and lacking in self doubt. They’ve added in the dreary remote bomb trip (75 feet from the car and you die) so I was quickly losing interest.
Then did get through “Fred Claus”. A not very good Christmas-y movie.Teen Beam
I wanted to see it because of the cast. Kevin Spacey as a Christmas villain is like YOW! Paul Giametti, the cool sociopath bad guy from “Shoot ‘Em Up” as Santa Claus! Rachel Weiz as the love interest then cameo’s by Frank Stallone, Steve Baldwin and Ken Clinton as other brothers who’s lives were destroyed by their famous siblings. (Oh, Fred Claus is Santa’s brother).
Weiz plays Vince Vaughn’s love interest. I’m still trying to figure out how a woman with such a thick Cruel Snowkids
“Cruel Snowkids” by Unknown
Brit accent got a job as a meter maid in Chicago. It made no sense, unless it was intended to make some sort of weird comment on U.S. immigration policies.
The film wast sort of nothing. I found myself thinking about “Deck the Halls’, last year’s Christmas flic starring MAtthew Broderick and Danny DeVito. At least that one had some glitzy lights and some unrepentant anarchy going for it. This just lay there and I found myself wondering how they got this heavy weight talent to appear in this mess.
We started to watch the old “Here Comes Mr Jordan”. I was enjoying it but my friend fell asleep. She needed the sleep. I was liking the movie too much to watch it by myself.
So I made mental plans for Christmas instead while watching the tepid Monday Night Football game.

Santa Claus
Click images for desktop size: “Santa” by Unknown
It seems Billy Idol has fans who were hacked by my saying Steve Steven’s thrashed out his talent by being Idol’s sideman. To soothe their jangled nerves at Christmas here’s Billy Idol doing his version of “Frosty The Snowman”. One of the great klazziks of Christmas music is Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans inspired rendition of “The Bells Of St Mary’s”. You’ll never be able to watch the old Bing Crosby movie in the same light again.
BB King is a living legend. He finally decided to record a Christmas album. Its as cool as you could want. What I’d expect from a man who offered to give his beloved guitar “Lucille” as a reward to anyone who’d return his little lost puppy. BB King’s “Christmas Celebration” proves the blues are for all year long.
John Water’s once wrote that he always wanted to write a thank you letter to his grandmother, “Thanks for the five dollars. I used it to buy crack cocaine and a porno mag”. In that light heWorld WIthout End released a Christmas album. Its not bad as proven by his choice of Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva’s “I Wish You A Merry Christmas”. Little Eva is the originator of “The Locomotion and she loco-motivates this track just fine.
Acceptance does an interesting version of “So This Is Christmas” which is just a re-titling of John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War id Over). The song gives no clue as to why it was re-titled.
Christmas Eve Eve is a good time to start getting traditional. The Blue Hawaiians do a pleasant take on “We Four Kings” while America contributes “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” to a weary world.

I still have cookies to make, presents to deliver and a few thousand Christmas emails for my puppy to go out. Have to deliver the presents tonight because it going to rain tomorrow . . .

The secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources Albert Einstein

Fallen Angel IV by Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: “Fallen Angel IV” by Luis Royo
We had tostadas for dinner last night. Made from scratch tostadas. Nearly blew up the pressure cooker cooking the beans.
Sort of made us both sick . . . To much tos and not enough tada I guess . . .The Killers
Everything is still feeling good. My friend couldn’t sleep from her tostada illness so she ended up working on some project for her job. Heck of a way to spend your Christmas vacation.
She explained everything she was doing to me in fine detail. I don’t think it was very important that I didn’t understand a thing she was talking about. She seemed very content and proud of herself for solving a problem and I could appreciate that. Even if I had no concept what the problem was or anything else much about it.
Typography Greeting by Blur
Click image: “Typography Greeting” by Blur
Last night we watched Jim Henson’s “The Christmas Toy”. Mildly amusing but nothing to go out of your way for. Then we watched an episode of the old TV series, “Kung Fu”.
It’s my friends favorite TV show ever. I enjoy it because I keep discovering a lot of friends had parts in the show. I still get a charge out of seeing my friends work.
It’s become the tradition to watch an episode every Sunday night. Were about a third through season two right now. Last night the show was pretty good. David Carradine still bugs me. He can’t fight but I do like his halting way of speaking english and Keye Luke is Keye Luke (Master Po). From Charlie Chan on I’ve always thought he was awesome.
Last night the show actually got into some Chinese history. It seemed accurate. At least it didn’t contradict anything I already thought I knew.
It explained the story of the Manchus’ burning the Shaolin Temple and killing all of the monks and how the five surviving monks formed the Tongs. How they convulsed their beliefs in order to use violence to not avenge but regain the place of their religion Christmas
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas” by Unknown
and in their convulsions metamorphed into bandits.
Then there was an interaction between a missionary and Caine that surprisingly showed the parallels between Christianity and Buddhism! Surprising and pithy stuff for a TV show. It didn’t go that deep into it but it was enough to fire up some imaginations I’d imagine.
Then Richard Lo playing the venerable aged Tong leader gave a fantastic portrait of calm and logical evil. Approaching his problems and issues with reverence and ruthlessness. An elegant portrait of the evil men do for the betterment of society and themselves.
It would have been a much better show if David Carradine could at least look like he could fight . . .
Last night my puppy did a strange regression back to when she refused to go outside unless I wasSpiderman with her. I don’t mind trekking through the drifting snow with her but it bothers me that she might suddenly have lost her inner sense of security, a feeling the two of us worked hard to instill.
She seems better this morning. More focused on having fun. That’s the way it should be.

I’ve got a dozen Christmas tracks today.
Christmas Card by S4W
Click image: “Card” by S4W
I don’t much like rap. I like the old school stuff, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Public Enemy, NWA and, of course Snoop Dogg. Snoop seemed to have lost his way a bit lately but he’s come out with a new album that is a Christmas record!!
So far I like it. Very little tedium, the nice quasi-jazz mixes and lush production values. “Landy in my Egg Nog” is cool, funny and real.
I talked to Mamie Van Doren and she told me how Elvis had invited her to see Louis Jordan in Vegas. She didn’t get to go because her then husband, Ray Anthony, was a jealous guy. For some reason what fascinated me was that Elvis wanted to see Louis Jordan. I checked him out and he was sort of a wild man playing within the big band croonermentality of the time. His Christmas tune “Santa Claus Santa Claus” does nothing to dispel the image. He is for sure worth listening to.
Christmas Pets
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Pets” by Unknown
And speaking of Elvis The Holly Twins’ “I Want Elvis For Christmas”is okay but gets legendary when you know that its a teen Eddie Cochran playing the guitar and doing the hiccupy background vocals!
And when you go there you have to mention Dora Bryan’s “All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle”
Carla Thomas made it personal with her “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Cool Stax sound and soaring voice.
Going even more old school is jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Rah. His “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is very cool and has the right sense of mellow for wrapping those last minute Christmas gifts.
Stepping slightly ahead in time we’ve got yet another new Christmas album. This one from Little Steven Van Zandt, the guy from Bruce Spingsteen, the Asbury Jukes and the Disciples of Soul. He just recorded a bunch of new garage stuff for a thing called “Christmas A Go Go. It is definitelyThe Two Mrs Carrolls alright. This is The Electric Prunes doing “Jingle Bells”, from the day when a name like Electric Prunes made sense to somebody.
From the same album we have The Chevelle’s doing the elegantly titled “Come All Ye Faithful Surfer Girls”. Get your jaw ready to drop.
From the authentic era is this righteous tune, Davie Allan and the Arrows going all Yuletide with “Ho Ho Ho Seven-Hark The Herald Angels Sing”. Which is possibly every old biker’s favorite Christmas tune.
Madonna tried to ruin the Eartha Kitt klazzik and here The Dollyrots redeem the legacy of “Santa Baby” with this gravely distant purr.
Joey Ramone died. The world is a darker place without him. He left a lot of stuff out there that’s being ignored. One of them is his truly cool cover of Darlene Love and Phil Specter’s Christmas smash “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. It should not be missed.
Eventide by Stag
Click images for desktop size: “Eventide” by Stag
And finally we have one of the little promo things I’m so fond of, Jan and Dean wishing you a “Happy New Year”. Not much better in life than that.
We have to go out and get dog food. Have to beat the weather. Its sunny and cold now. Snow is promised before the day ends.
I’m kind of looking forward to that. Even with all my snow shovelling muscles sore and tired it still makes things pretty and fun and adventurous.
What’s irksome is that Christmas eve is supposed to break 40 and then to rain . . . and then freeze. We’ll survive. We always do.

I’m not a genius; I’m just a tremendous bundle of experience R. Buckminster Fuller

Cruxificion of the Goddess
Click images for desktop size: “Crucifixion of the Goddess” by Unknown
Some torpid news yesterday.
We’d been buying special gluten free oats for oatmeal and stuff but it turns out that my friend is still having bad allergic reactions.
My only food restrictions are fat and sugar and that causes me some minor distress. My friend can’t Sex Kittens Go To College eat wheat, gluten and now oats. Kind of sucks.
My little blind dog couldn’t have wheat, beef and who knows what else. He’d go crazy if he got any. Somebody needs to make a pill. That’s the American way isn’t it?
I was also pretty dismayed to see that the USA General in Iraq is refusing to comply with Obama’s demand for troop withdrawal. Its nice to know that Bush has succeeded in turning the US into a South American puppet government. This appears to be the start of a junta. Obama is crazy if he doesn’t have the guy relieved from duty the second he takes office. I’d think that having him charged with treason, mutiny and a few other charges wouldn’t be out of line.
Yesterday we got the tree up. That’s great fun. The dogs are fascinated but then disappointed because they’re not allowed to eat the ornaments.
I still like it. I like remembering the friends who gave us the stuff. I liked the copper ornament that the little blind dog gave us. I like it Lights Of Christmas
Click image: “Lights of Christmas” by Unknown
all.
Nearly finished vacuum sealing all the doggie secret Santa gifts. The stickers look nice but don’t stick to the packages real well. We’ll figure something out.
No one came to my puppy’s Christmas party. Last time I let her handle the invitations. She didn’t care. She had fun.
There’s another 3 inches of snow on the ground this morning with more expected. I have become the master of the snow shovel.
My friend gave her spare snow blower to our new neighbors as aSanta Dog
Click images for desktop size: “Santa Dog” by Unknown
bribe really to get them to take care of the 30 yard driveway that leads to both of our houses. The neighbors still perplex me. That means I don’t think I like them but have only a few reasons not to. The guy is a rude jerk so that’s easy to explain away. He is a total jerk.
His wife is pleasant but I keep getting a nasty tang of insincerity. She’s a bartender or a bar maid at a local rather scuzzy bar. Its honest work but she shows all the signs of being a heavy drinker. Maybe that’s what I’m reacting to. My own innate prejudices.
Or there’s a good chance she’s a jerk too. But we have seen her at two of the dog walks which is normally enough to warm me to almost any person. And I do like their dog. It upsets the husband that the dog likes me. He yells at it when it comes up to say hi and never acknowledges me. He’s,Superman And Santa Claus like I said, a total jerk. I keep trying to keep things amenable. At least to the point of them calling the fire department if the house is on fire.
But now the snow blower my friend gave them is frozen to the ground!
Today I watch football and I plan to make cookies. CHRISTMAS cookies. I was going to make Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies but with my friends revelation . . . I could still make them and just keep them all for myself! Most likely I’ll make the coconut flour cookies. They’re okay too.

Last week my courageous picks resulted in me going 8-8! An impressive display of guts and risk taking on my part. My friend played all the safe picks, made all the easy choices and ended up an embarrassing 10-6.
My friend is not a Christmas music nut, but she is fond of one song: “Little Drummer Boy”.
To teach her a lesson I managed to find about 30 versions of the tune. With I’m finished with her she’ll never want to hear “rump a tum rum” ever again! That’s her penalty for trying to look like she is beating me in NFL picks!

The Harry Simone Choral did the original “Little Drummer Boy”. When I was a kid and driving around with my mother they would play it ad nauseam on the radio.
Which is why its cool that my peers have done what they could to renovate, some might call it destroy, this little ditty. Tech band Low’s version of the drummer song turns the tune into a trance Elemental by Skywalker
Click images for desktop size: “Elemental” by Skywalker
dirge. Not very tasty but appropriate somehow.
Heavy metal guitarist, Gary Hoey had a surprise hit album of Christmas music. He basically played heavy distorted guitar over jams of Christmas tunes. It was so successful he had to do a sequel! Here’s Gary Hoey’s metallic take on the drummer boy song.
Steve Vai noticed Hoey going platinum so he organized a bunch of hard rock guitarists to do the same thing. The Merry Axemas albums are interesting but not very. Guys like Steve Stevens, a fine guitarist who kind of blew his chances by taking the quick and easy path with Billy Idol kind of typifies the album. For the most part each track starts off with some delicate and fine playing before it suddenly just rips into a loud more or less formless jam. Alex Lifeson does our featured track. Not much more to say than that other than I would hope that some part of this Something Weird record went to a charity or something. No mention of it but one can hope.
One thing my search discovered is that Joan Jett is still in business. I still remember her from the Runaway days where Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer were promoting them. Fowley to continue making money and fame and Bingenheimer because he’s a lonely guy looking for love or a reasonable facsimile. Jett was the most talented musician in the band. Now it seems she even has her own record label and has produced a new sampler of the bands she’s signed! Cool. We have the lady herself Joan Jett doing “Little Drummer Boy” replete with fat barre chords!
Next up is the 60’s band who had the big hit with “Wimoweh” – the lion sleeps tonight song. The Tokens’ version of the drummer boy is kind of sweet. The soaring falsetto takes over at times and moves the tune back into a primal mode.
The Dandy Warhols, of all groups, did an interesting cover. It still sounds like the Dandy’s too. That’s fine by me.
No song is any good unless you can make it into a rollicking surf tune! Los Straitjackets prove that wrestling masks, surf guitars drums and Christmas rock.
But I’ve save the best two versions for last.
The Little Drummer Boys by Mike Watt and the Crew of the Flying Saucer was, I thought, the most insane version of this track I’d ever heard. And how could you not love a band name like that! But then I heard something better. A coolness not heard of since Hal Blaine or Sandy Nelson Dusty Watson Complex leaves no doubt that the most dangerous weapon in the world is still a simple trap kit and the willingness to take no prisoners.
Snowflakes
Click images for desktop size: “Snowflakes” by Unknown

And now to week 16 of the NFL.
My picks are in bold.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville – As the NFL plays out it string more and more of the games are the sheerest tedium. The NFL should follow baseballs lead and use these dead games to highlight new players, try some new strategy. Instead its just the same boring plays that having worked for 14 weeks but maybe they will now . . . that wasn’t the case for the Jaguars Thursday, but only because of the tremendously moving appearance by Richard Simmons in a wheelchair. They played spirited football like they should have played all season. They lost because Peyton Manning doesn’t care about opponents teammates or gutty performances. He only cares about winning and getting to the Superbowl. I wrote the Colts off 10 weeks ago. With the win they clinched the wild card. Show to Bug Bunny Christmas go, shows to go . . .

Baltimore at Dallas – The Cowboys are choking big time while the Ravens have that glint of desperation that just might carry them through into the playoffs. Superstars bickering vs aging superstars looking for a collision, looking for the hit to end it all. The choice is clear to me even though the Cowboys are pretty heavily favored. Game of the week contender.

Arizona at New England – Matt Cassel played brilliantly following the death of his father. He plans to finish the season the same was a s a tribute to his dad. That’s a powerful mojo. The only hope the Patriots have is to win out. Arizona is already in the playoffs, even has at least one home playoff game their first in like 35 years. So Larry Johnson and Arrington are going to sit out this meaningless game . . . The Cardinals haven’t won a game on the East Coast this season. Can’t expect much effort from them here.

San Diego at Tampa Bay – Coaching had probably cost the Buccaneers their shot at the playoffs. Pin it all on Jon Gruden and bizarre strategy in back to back must win games, both of which they lost. The Buc;s aren’t eliminated. The Chargers were everybody’s pick to go to the SuperBowl the minute Tom Brady went down. Now they The Sandman Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: “The Sandman” by Maxfield Parrish
are fighting to get to .500. They’ve no heart and never should have fired Marty Schottenheimer.

San Francisco at St Louis – Until Mike Singletary took over the 49er’s this was a early pick for cruddy game of the year. Right now you’d have to think the Niner’s would be idiots to not make Singletary the permanent HC. With what he has done with this team in 3 weeks is astounding. They are playing hard edged football, entertaining football. The idea of them having a few draft picks and a training camp is scary stuff. The Rams are hoping not to get relegated to a lower league.

Pittsburgh at Tennessee – After four freakish wins they’re call ing the Steelers the “Team of Destiny”. I see it as inept officiating that has only gone against the Steelers once. This is going to be a good game, especially with Haynesworth out for the Titans. These teams will probably meet againStrange Bedfellows in the playoffs. Having Haynesworth out will help the Titans in that game more than it will hurt them in this one. The Titans will not be able to run or pass the ball very consistently. Even without Haynesworth the Steelers haven’t been moving the ball well at all. Unless the ref’s decide to cheat again I think the Titans win a squeaker. Oh yeah, game of the week.

Cincinnati at Cleveland – Cruddy game of the week. Sad really. Both teams looked so promising coming out of camp. Taking the Bengals because, well, why not. Nobody has anything in this one. Slight edge to the Browns for their defense and ball hawking but the offense will cough the ball up as much as they take it away.

Miami at Kansas City – I’m taking the Dolphins because, well, its just common sense really. But the Chiefs aren’t looking good but they’ve gotten more dangerous. An upset wouldn’t surprise me here. I still expect it to be close.

New Orleans at Detroit – The Bears gamesmanship cost the Saints Reggie Bush and their season. Dru Brees is still looking like he’s going for the Hall of Fame and against the Lions that should be enough. In fact the Lions only real hope is that the Saints are so heartbroken about their Elysia by T Hecker
Click images for desktop size: “Elysia” by T Heckler
season that they forget to show up.

Houston at Oakland – Cruddy game of the week contender. The Texans are not looking better. they’ve been lucky and played teams that have given up. Like the Raiders this week.

Buffalo at Denver – Here’s a game so dull I don’t even want to think about it. Lynch should get some big yards. Trent Edwards is due back but its hard to figure how shaky he’ll be. Jay Cutler is all the Broncos have and probably all they’ll need n this one.

New York Jets at Seattle – The Seahawks stink but I’m nervous about Favre playing in a hostile environment. He could throw four picks in this one. Which still wouldn’t be enough for the Seahawks to win.The Great St Louis Bank Robbery

Philadelphia at Washington – The Redskins have rolled over and learned to play dead. The Eagles have a shot at the playoffs. That’s about all I can muster for this snorer.

Atlanta at Minnesota – The Falcons are looking tired. The Vikings aren’t looking good. If they were this would be a game of the week contender. Still Adrein Petersen and the Williams boys will keep the Vikings in it and disrupt the Falcons ground game enough for a home win.

Green Bay at Chicago – A few weeks ago the Packers spanked the Bears. That’s the last game they won/ They’ve looked terrible losing too. The Bears stink but they’re at home and eager to repay the humiliation they suffered. Oddly, the Bears Christmas at Rockefeller Center
Click images for desktop size: “Christmas at Rockefeller Center” by Unknown
have an outside shot at the playoffs.

Carolina at New York Giants – I don’t think much of the Panthers. See the Steelers comment above. Winning games is not the same as having a winning football team. The Giants have looked tired lately, stressed about Plaxico Buress and young receivers not handling the pressure. This is a game they need to right themselves to avoid an early exit from the playoffs.

Veiw these picks at your own risk. Not responsible for any physical damage due to excessive laughter and/or hysterics.

The best way to predict the future is to create it Peter Drucker

Colorfast by Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: “Colorfast” by Richard Mohler
We got the stickers to label the doggie treat Christmas presents. They’re bigger than I expected. If I’d known I’d have written what the treats are on them. Out Of the Past
I have this fear that a) People will think I’m a loon (which they will anyway) and think I mean to harm their dogs or b) in these hard times that I’m giving out free samples of a product I want to sell.
I want them to just see that somebody else cares about their dogs and enjoys them as we walk around the neighborhood. I can’t control people’s perceptions.
I sealed up three bags using the vacuum sealer thing. It was cool Christmas Card
Click image: “Merry Christmas 2008” by S4W
and easy. Kind of fun too. I liked watching all the air get sucked out and the bags crinkling hard to the shapes of the dried veggies. It was aesthetically pleasing to me.
The big snow is expected today.
I hope its really big. So far this morning there’s just a light dusting on the ground.
Yesterday I shoveled the yard in preparation for the big storm. I discovered its easier to do that then to just wait and let it all pile up.
I keep the dogs out there with me while I do the shoveling. They seem to enjoy standing on the ground I just shoveled and then getting in my way as I continue. Its their game and they’re laughing.
I saw the gentle dog suddenly bolt past me. I watched him, amused at his speed and intensity while Snowshoeing by Steven Stradhee
Click images for desktop size: “Snowshoeing” by Steven Stradhee
I wondered what he was chasing. There’s an abandoned bomb shelter in the back yard! Not an A-Bomb shelter, which would be very cool, but a plywood walled bunker sort of thing. Its collapsed but still has the shape of a room about 8 feet below the caved in roof. The roof has been used for years to toss fallen branches and other yard debris. It looks pretty natural, a part of the terrain.
As I watched the gentle dog scooted over the roof of the bomb shelter and disappeared. I went back to shoveling for a bit then realized the gentle dog hadn’t reappeared and my puppy was agitated.
I went over to the shelter and was surprised that the gentle dog had followed whatever he wasNight of the Demon chasing down into the shelter and was now stuck!
It wasn’t a big problem to drop down besides him. I lifted him up and pushed him out through the hole in the roof.
In my haste to rescue him I neglected to calculate my own escape.
I thought about it for a second and tried to do an old rock climbing style “mantle”. Its where you grab the ledge above your head pull yourself up to where you can rest your forearm on the surface and then lever yourself up.
Pretty simple.
Except my hands would not grasp the wood. Since I’ve started to play the guitar again I notice that aside from the pain and the cramping finger style playing has left my right thumb feeling jammed and dislocated. My recent falling downs has also left my wrist weak.
Christmas Matrioshka
Click image: “Russian Christmas Matrioshka” by Unknown
I tried a couple more times, trying different techniques. All I managed to do was to break off some chunks of dusty ceiling.
There’s still a door on the shelter so I tried that. Most people probably would have thought of trying the door first . . . but I have pride in wanting to exit the same way I entered. Pride is often confused with stupidity. Besides it was dark down there and I really hadn’t thought of it.
The door was solidly jammed and throwing my weight against it only made the shelter vibrate in an uncomfortable way and I had a flash of me being buried alive under plywood and yard debris.
More worrisome was that my puppy and the giant dog decided that all my banging around was a sure sign that I was having a world of fun and they were threatening to come down and join me. Planet of the Apes (Czech) They kept poking their noses through the hole. Giant dog was play growling at me trying to make me let him join in the fun.
I yelled at them to sit. I was surprised that they both did.
I remembered I had my cell phone in my pocket, which is more common sensical than usual for me. I’ve often watched old movies where all the tension from a scene or a chase could have been solved if the hero just had a cell phone in his pocket.
Christmas Cheer
“Christmas Cheer” by Unknown
I thought for a bit about calling 911 but I figured they’d probably have to break down the gate to get into the yard and, that just didn’t seem worth it.
I was also wondering what the gentle dog was chasing. I hadn’t heard anything rustling down there. I sometimes smell a heavy musk in the backyard. Rather skunky but not quite the skunk smell I know. I’d decided it must be wolverines! It didn’t matter that I’d been told that there weren’t any wolverines around here, that they’re several hundred miles further north, I enjoyed thinking that there’s a semi-dangerous animal lurking in my backyard.
At this time I also figured that all my banging around would have seriously hacked off any skulking wolverines who would have gone by my jugular by now. I figured it was most likely that the gentle Dragon Lady
Click images for desktop size: “Dragon Lady” by Unknown
dog was chasing the “stupid cat”.
I also found it interesting that it seemed several degrees cooler in the bomb shelter. For some reason my lack of subterranean knowledge made me think it would be warmer, which is stupid and against all my experience but I still fondly cherish the notion that just 10 feet below the surface the earth is filled with pools of magma that house great fire resistant dinosaurs.
I finally figured out that I could hang from the roof and do a sort of chimney move against one slick wall and sort of scramble out that way. It took about 10 minutes for me to get to a position where I could grab something and try and pull myself out.Red Dust
The first time I grabbed a branch which wasn’t attached to anything and fell back into the shelter. The next time i just madly flailed at the dirt until I was able to roll myself onto solider ground. Of course the dogs all had to rush over and smell me.
I checked the gentle dog over and decided he had no bumps, contusions or abrasions. He was a bit nervous about the hole but still eager to bite me.
I finished my shoveling, went in and made us a frozen pizza I’d gotten on sale. The dogs and me love our frozen pizza, except they always want more than their share. I think they think the same thing about me.
We watched the Colts Jaguars game on TV. It was better than I anticipated. It was sadly moving seeing Richard Collier come onto the field in his wheel chair.
My friend was working late, in preparation for the two weeks off and anticipating that the big snow Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Luis Royo
would stop her from going into work today. So I went to bed alone.
Not quite alone. Usually my puppy lies on the bed until my presence annoys her. Tonight the gentle dog nudged her aside and lie next to me. Nose to nose. I love dogs but I don’t like doggie kisses or them licking me at all. I also don’t like doggie breath. He moved further down, turned around and pressed hard against me and stayed there until my friend got home. Then he went to greet here by stepping on my face. So everything is back to normal.

A few people have written to me complaining that the song version the downloaded wasn’t the one that I claimed it would be! I realize that when I ftp’d a song with the same name to the server I was overwriting the old version! I’ll get that fixed.
Here’s Jan and Dean doing a little “Merry Christmas promo”. I like these little messages inserted Santa Claus Conquers the Martians into my playlists.
Shonen Knife aren’t the only Japanese girl band to celebrate the holidays, this is The 5 6 7 8’s doing “Rock N’ Roll Santa”. Cute stuff with a nice cutting edge.
Soupy Sales has a son named Tony. Tony started out with a band called Tony and the Tigers. Soupy used all of his influence to promote his son’s band. Eventually Tony would marry Tyrone Powers’ daughter, Taryn, and then form Tin Machine and be David Bowie’s band for a lot of years. That’s how it goes in Hollywood. None of which has anything to do with this CHristmas track by Soupy himself. “Santa Claus Is Surfin’ To Town” has been blamed for everything from causing the cold war to increasing the percentage of American youth experimenting with drugs. The drug part is serious! It’s just a gooney Christmas record that I like fine.
It is certainly no crazier than Ray Steven’s scary “Santa Claus Is Watching You” especially in this post 9/11 anti-American tyranny.
And we’ll end with two tracks designed to ruin forever your memory of Clement Moore’s poem. Huey “Piano” Smith and the Clowns crazed version of “Twas The Night Before Christmas” rolls along in madness that seems absolute until . . .
Now we all know who Henry Rollins is. The founder of Black Flag, the the paramour of Lydia Lunch. Those shows . . .I mean, they were nothing except Lydia screeching on stage while Rollins would jump into the crowd and punch out hecklers! Iceman by Marvel
Click images for desktop size: “Iceman” by Marvel Comics
And a few hundred people would PAY to experience this! While Van Halen and Metallica where down the street PAYING the club owners to get to play Lunch and Rollins were making money doing this poetry reading thing. YOW!
Rollins was cool. I could even accept him taking parts in movies. It wasn’t until he hosted that awful TV game show that I realized the beautiful angry young man was dead and all that was left was a guy who wanted to make a living. Once again I bring up the Eskimo tradition of sending their greatest heroes out on ice floes to die lest they live on and destroy the legend. Henry Rollins doing a Christmas tune is insane, that his radical hep cat be bop reading of “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas” even exists is a Christmas miracle that is a quiet blessing. Scare the kids with this one while you just groove daddio.
Finally a band called The Priestess and the Fool have released a new Christmas album and left it up for FREE DOWNLOADING. Rah! Merry Christmas. The music is okay. They do an interesting cover of the Pogues “Fairytale of New York”. Click the bands name to get it. Classy package 192 kb mp3’s, cover art and pdf booklet. I approve.

I was just thinking I’d like to get back to before Adam Faith

Violet Diva

Click images for desktop size: “Violet Diva” by Unknown
The carrot dehydrating scheme seemed to go okay. The dried carrots are not as popular with the dogs as the dried sweet potatoes.
That’s okay. They provide a lot of color. They dry a nice fiery orange. They’ll look cute in the littleInvasion of the Body Snatchers vacuum sealed pouches.
This has suddenly become important. My new Christmas tradition of passing out treats to the neighborhood dogs has grown from 3 to 10. And probably counting.
I have to have two of them ready for tomorrow. That might be three ready by tomorrow.
I also have to design a tag, a sticker to put on the treats so that when I fling these on the neighbor’s porch they won’t think I’m defiling their homes with wrinkled up garbage . . .
Christmas by Cole Phillips

Click image: “Christmas” by Cole Phillips
I’m going to try to dehydrate regular Idaho potatoes today. The dogs love french fries so this might work. The sweet potatoes are pricey. I was surprised that the 6 we used cost 12 bucks! Rah!
That’s made me scale back on my dreams of fat goodie bags for all the pooches.
I’m glad for the project though. Christmas always seems better with insane projects and looming deadlines. Its part of the fun. Isn’t it?
Yesterday was frustrating in small ways. There was some stuff I wanted to do but I had to wait for the Christmas delivery all day. Someone told me that the delivery was scheduled for between 7 AM and 1:00 PM. I called at 1:00 and was told it was between 12:00 and 5:00. Then the delivery guys called about 4:00 and said their truck got caught in the snow. They showed up about 6:00.
It went well enough. I’m happy with the delivery, so far. I was surprised that the two delivery guys were Jamaican. The shock being that they’d leave Kingston for this frigid, snowy winter landscape. They talked to me about Christmas in Jamaica but never Winter Shades by Mizz Fonky

Click images for desktop size: “Winter Shades” by Mizz Fonky
explained what dragged them all the way north.
While waiting for them I ended up talking to the guy who owns the little apartment building next door. It was a harmless small talk. I was surprised because the guy is only a few years older than me but looks much older. I’m used to that, but he talked to me as if he were even older than that, as if he were over 90 and waiting for death to creep in and grab him at any moment.
Maybe he was just having a bad day. He told me had three kids and got them all the same Christmas present, to avoid squabbling. He got them each a turkey deep fryer.
I’d always thought of deep fried turkey as a Southern dish. He said he’d had it once and thought it Battle Vixens was delicious. He wanted to share that delicious memory with his kids. Then he got worried about whether that was enough of a present.
I told him I thought it was. Even if they didn’t react on the day sometime later they’d give it a try and be stoked and remember him and what he was trying to do.
Christmas

Click image: “Xmas” by WallColl
We ended up with him giving me so snow shoveling tips and advice on how to get the two snow blowers, that I avoid, up and running.
Ended the day by watching a Japanese film, “Rockers”. It was pretty enjoyable. I got a copy that some guys I know put English subtitles on. Its a comedy about a a band from Hakata looking to make it big and go pro in Tokyo. There were a lot of jokes about communication in Japan. The kids from Hakata having a hard time being understood by the rest of Japan because of the accents and dialects. Something I never expected.
The music is all Japanese post punk. I liked it.
There’s about 9 bands showcased in the flic. One of them had a very cool female brass section! The movie itself forces every conceivable rags to riches musician story into its 90 minutes. All amusing and, at times, oddly exciting.
Warmly recommended for Christmas viewing.

Rushing to get caught up, so todays Christmas music is sort of a hodgepodge. All very cool but hastily thrown together.
Merry Christmas 2008 by S4W

Click images for desktop size: “Merry Christmas 2008” by S4W
I don’t imagine anyone expected Joe Pesci, yes, that Joe Pesci from “Raging Bull”. The guy who asked, “So you think I’m funny? You think I’m here to amuse you?” in “Goodfellows” would record a Christmas song. If you did you’re sicker than I am and we should meet for coffee. I cant speak to the quality of the song the mere fact that Joe Pesci recorded “If It Doesn’t Snow On Christmas” is enough for me and should be for you too.
Up there in the I don’t believe it is The Mighty Mighty BossTones did “This Time Of Year”. A Christmas tune from the kings of punk ska? YOW!
One day maybe I’ll understand the fascination that the Scandinavians have with the Beatles and with Christmas, to the point that they have to combine the two. Not only is there the Fab Four but there is also this Danish band Rubber Band here doing “Mary’s Boy Child” in a poppy Beatles The Mummy's Hand style. Even the album cover is a take off on the Beatle’s “Help” here featuring the four in Father Christmas costumes.
Les Paul was so cool they had to make a special guitar for him. Check out the cool country jazz stylings in his chilled out “White Christmas” he really makes the point that everyone else is over reaching.
And we’ll wrap it up with The Pete Currey Orchestra doing “Drums for Christmas”. One thing I hope we agree on is that you can never have too many drum breaks no matter what time of year!

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom William “Wild Bill” Blake

Bullet Train

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Bullet Train” by Unknown
Last night we were watching this old Dave Fleischer cartoon. A Christmas themed one. Where these kids in the orphanage get these old cast off toys that crumble to dust within minutes. The kids are all crying. Christmas is over and ruined. Gramps, the Inventor, is driving past in his horselessHuman Desire sleigh. He hears the kids and decides to help them by taking all the knick knacks in the orphanage and remaking them into cool Rube Goldberg style Christmas toys.
Pretty inventive stuff in six minutes.
My friend asked me if I’d been raised to believe in Santa Claus. I didn’t have an answer. I don’t think so. I think I was raised more to believe in Gramps, the Inventor.
Frosty by LawnElf

Click images for desktop size: “Frosty” by LawnElf
My best childhood Christmas memory, my “Rosebud” was when I was five. I woke up Christmas day, all excited. I don’t have a clue as to why. It was just that it was the day.
There was a Christmas tree and fanned out under the tress were 6 Mad Magazine comic paperbacks. I felt like the richest kid in the world.
Now I realize that my mother had been out on Christmas Eve and either got a tree from one of the lots for a dollar or two and probably ran to Thrifty’s to pick up some close out decorations.
The Mad magazines I’d wanted. Mad magazine I thought was the epitome of sophisticated humour. What I actually liked were the loaded up panels of Wally Wood. I couldn’t imagine how witty you’d have to be to load all those jokes into a single panel. I fretted over missing one of those jokes.
So I don’t think I ever thought much about Santa Claus. I believed more in Christmas miracles. I still do.
Christmas Tree by WallColl

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Tree” by WallColl
Even when the miracles don’t happen I’m to stoic to let it dampen my enthusiasm for the next miracle.
I realize that it lets me feel like my entire life is filled with miracles. My little puppy is a miracle. The gentle dog and the giant dog are miracles. My friend is her own self contained miracle.
Everything that is good that has happened to me is a miracle. I think we all deserve miracles. Except Bush-Cheny. They deserve whatever an anti-miracle is.

It snowed last night. After the muck and the ice the snow was almost welcome. It was a light powdery snow. The dogs and I were still slipping around on the ice it concealed but no one, especially me, fell or hurt themselves.More Fun Comics

Since I’m in such a good mood it seems like the right time for some Anti-Christmas songs. I lost my copy of “Christmas in Jail” (“I was in the wrong lane and feeling no pain”), but John Prine’s evil “Christmas in Prison” fills the gap nicely. It also has some pretty lyrics and a flash of ugly humour. (“Christmas in prison, food’s real good had turkey and pistols carved out of wood”).
Then there’s the calm despair of The Emotions and “What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas”, which is nothing else should bring comfort in knowing you’re not the only person who feels that way.
The country blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Santa” and the country twang of Bill Harrison’s “‘Po Folks Christmas” balance the despair of infinite poverty against the hopes and dreams that might well be one day crushed but for now they’re all we have.
Then there’s the comedic vitriol of Blink 182’s “I Won’t Be Home For Christmas”. I have way to many friends who’ve experienced too many Christmases like this. It makes me smile thinking about my Christmases that should have been like this, but for some reason they weren’t ever that bad. Miracles, see?
Speedball Jr’s “Rudolph’s Secret” tries to be nasty but the great rhythm and piercing reverb leads are just too good to make it anything more than fun.

I’m stuck waiting for a Christmas delivery. A close out item. It will cheer everyone up. At least everyone who lives here.

Protecting the rich may be the quickest way to hell but its the easiest way to get rich yourself Allen Stern

Beauty With Cigarette

Click images for desktop size: “Beauty with Cigarette” by Unknown
I fell down last night. Fell down pretty hard and in my own backyard!
The rain and warmth turned the yard into muck and then the sudden deep freeze froze everything Hound Of The Baskervilles solid. The lucky part was that somehow it dried most stuff out pretty well, except for this one strip where the dogs and I wear our paths.
The paths are solid strips of ice. I couldn’t see that in the dark.
I fell hard. The dogs weren’t anywhere near me but were willing to take the credit. All three were over sniffing me. I banged my head pretty hard, jammed my wrist and my elbow is still hurting.
I examined the area this morning. There’s no trace of where my hand hit but there’s a nice star from where I smacked my elbow.
Christmas Night

Click image: “Christmas Night” by Wallpapermania
I was glad to see that. I’m a guy and guys know instinctively that we have to qualitate anything stupid, or clumsy and especially something painful to see where it fits into the guys hall of records.
This was a pretty good fall in the ice. Not up there with Bills in the winter of ’86 but he had the advantage of being on a lake and getting his butt stuck in the resulting hole.
So not a great fall at all but still pretty good.
The house is reeking of dehydrating sweet potatoes. I’m excited. They’ll make great treats for our dogs and even better Christmas presents for the neighbor dogs.
Home for Christmas by Inevitable Imagination

Click images for desktop size: “Home for Christmas” by Inevitable Imagination
The dehydrated sweet potatoes go for like 16 bucks for a bag of five! We’ve got about 25 going right now. Its been going for 14 hours so far. They look different than when they started out . . . I have no idea how much longer they’ll take.
The ones they sell they claim are similar to rawhide but healthier.
We have this vacuum thing that I want to use to “wrap” the doggie presents. No one knows how to work it . . . Its that machine that has these plastic tubes. You put your stuff in the tube and it sucks out the air and seals the bag to make something very slick and professional looking. At least in theory. Just more Christmas excitement.
Now that we have a dehydrator I’m chuffed trying to figure out what else to dry out. Being too much of a guy sometimes I can only think about stuff like toothpaste and nuts. I’m trying to figure out Christmas with the Superheroes what would be totally cool to see all wrinkled and dried out. I usually get into trouble thinking these kind of things. Harmless trouble but still trouble.

Today its novelty Christmas records.
Novelty records have always been cool. Some of them have even been massive hits. They’ve been around like forever. The most annoying of them had to be the number 1 with a bullet The Chipmunks doing “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”. The brain child of Ross Bogardisian and novelty stud David Seville (prior to this his smash was “The Witch Doctor” not included here). The sped up voices are annoying and deadly to anyone not born with 6 year old auditory sense.
The penetrating effect of this can still be felt in hippie band Canned Heat’s Homage and cover of “The Chipmunk Song”. Scary stuff.
This actually spelled a whole series of answer tunes from groups like the Squirrels, the Groundhogs. They were all terrible and all sounded the same. One DJ was incensed by kids enjoying Christmas. He did a spoken record that was so teeth gnashingly ernest and sincere it can only be endured at Christmas, Harry Harrison wishes “May You Always” at Christmas. Its just what you imagined.
Fortunately the world was blessed with the Marquees. A black doo wop group that went further out than the Coasters. “Christmas in the Congo” was a Christmas sequel of the other minor hit. This one did so well that the Marquees gave us the rocked out “Santa Done Got Hip”. And suddenly the Christmas Ornaments

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Ornaments” by WallColl
real flood gates were open.
Patsy Raye gave us the remarkable “Beatnik’s Wish”. One listen and you’ll want to become a beatnik! But only because you couldn’t afford the clothes to join Edd “Kookie” Byrnes in “Yulesville”.
Suddenly for every cloying Christmas track like the psycho “05 I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” by Gayla Peevey we got to sway with The Enchanters and their “Mambo Santa Mambo”.
Since then its never stopped. There’s the memorable “Going Up To Bethlehem”. Where comedian does a nice CCR rip to make a stomping Christmas tune.
Even today we have bands like The A.K.A.’s covering “Christmas In Hollis” MXPX doing the strange “Christmas Night Of Zombies” which still has one of my fave Christmas lines. Frankenstein's Daughter (Hint: The snow is red)
So this should keep you suspiciously grinning until tomorrow. We’ll leave you with The Boys Next Door on Bad Records and their too cool “The Wildest Christmas”.
I have to go work on falling down and other important Christmas stuff, like dreaming and walking the dogs and forgetting that there’s a world out there that doesn’t see any way to laugh right now, who wants to penalize the poor and isn’t afraid of ghosts.
I got invited to play Santa back in the town I used to live in. I’ll dream about that some.


Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back Babe Ruth

Football Pin up by Al Moore

Click images for desktop size: “Football Pin Up” by Al Moore
The giant dog is feeling better. Much better.
In fact I don’t think he recalls a second of how ill he was. This was reinforced after he woke me at The Day the Earth Stood Still 4:30 to go outside. His urgency wasn’t related to anything internal. The rain had started and the sound of rain on the ice made him think the house was being stalked by thousands of dangerous kittens.
It was raining so hard the cat that lives here decided to come inside with the dogs.
So he’s fine. I will probably collapse sometime today from lack of sleep. Can’t afford to do that. Too much to do today.
Spent yesterday watching some pretty poor excuses for football Christmas Tree

Click image: “Christmas Tree” by Unknown
games, seeing Pete Carroll on “Sixty Minutes” (I was impressed with him. Very impressed.) And falling downstairs.
I’d been searching for two movies – the Japanese “Dog Star” DVD, which is very cool movie about a dog who dies. Because he led such a great dog life he’s allowed a request. He returns to earth as a human being shape so he can be close again to his female mistress, so he can tell her how much he loved being her dog.
The other movie was “Bobby of Greyfriar”, a Disney flic. I don’t much care for Disney movies. Not sure why. Perhaps its the consistent stable of directors and cinematographers. For whatever reason I find Disney flics as appealing as McDonalds.
Finally sorted through the stacks and found them. Actually I didn’t, my friend did. What I managed to find were some live Stevie Ray Vaughn DVD’s which I’d semi-forgotten about.
After sorting through the disks I decided to move them downstairs, to make room under my desk. Since I’m converting everything to H264 they’ve become more of a back up than a watching media.
I was carrying about 200 of them down the stairs when I slipped on the steps. I was falling and Brocal by Remohi

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Brocal Remohi
trying to catch the movies as I slid down the stairs.
I wasn’t hurt much. The disks didn’t do well. About 4 of them just split or cracked. Lucky for me these were all movies I had good back up of already. I’m nervous about the others. The basement is not a clean room and concrete skidding plastic is pretty short lived.
There was nothing “vital” in the disks, no last copy extant of the missing footage from “It’s A Wonderful Life” where George Bailey throttles Uncle Billy and then sends Zazu out to sell matches on the street corner. But stuff I enjoyed having.
Maybe its all fine. I remember when CD’s first game out. One of the approved selling methods was to throw a disk on the floor and then watch the salesman tread on it, pick it up and have it play Destroy All Monsters perfectly. Why did I believe that?
The only other noteworthy event was that the couple that adopted one of my puppy’s foster dogs, and whom I’m fond of, STILL HAVE NOT HAD THEIR BABY!
One of my puppy’s litter mates is scheduled to have her first litter at almost the exact same time. This is more strain on me than is fair!
My friend wants to start new Christmas traditions. Private traditions . . . Barring a last minute invite from her parents we’re going to go to the Chinese buffet for Christmas dinner. I like that for far too many reasons.
The unambiguous ones are that they’ll have turkey! With Chinese stuffing? And dog bacon! And neither my friend or I have ever gotten sick there! Has me stoked. I’m working on a better way to line the plastic in my inner jacket pockets to load up on serious dog treats.
The other tradition we should start is to get a dehydrator. While shopping she saw a bag of sweet potato dog treats for $16.00! The plan is to dehydrate a mess of sweet potatoes and then to leave them Christmas eve at the door steps of all of our neighborhood dog friends!
I like that tradition a lot!
The final new tradition is that she should change her birthdate to whenever I arbitrarily decide it should be. I never remember things like that especially when your birthday is after Christmas and Not for Sale

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas is Not for Sale” by Unknown
before the New Years. This year I’ve decided her birthday is on Boxing Day. Since she won’t, or can’t, contradict me. It stays and is official.

Doo wop is maybe the purest urban music. Four or five guys hanging around a street corner singing some of the hits off of the radio, learning how to apply church modal harmonies with gospel emotion to a pop ethos.
Doo wop was the streets. There were black bands, white bands and Hispanic doo wop groups, just people raising their voices in song from New York to LA they thrived and made some sounds that are now pure standards. In the pre civil rights days its remarkable that there were several integrated doo wop groups. The odd part is that they recorded and toured with no big fan fare or any particular notice being taken.Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde
One of the most successful doo wop groups were the Temptations. They got so big that they stopped being thought of a a doo wop vocal band and were seen as the vanguard of the MoTown sound. They recorded what is possibly the definitive doo wop Christmas record with their stellar version of “Silent Night”. The only complaint is that it might be too slick and over produced and lack the spontaneous bite that makes vocal music great.
The song builds from the doo wop sound pioneered by that ultra slick and smiling cool of the Platters. The Platters were definitely alright even if they were more geared towards night clubs than flat bed truck stages. Their version of “Silent Night, Holy Night” is worth a listen and carries its own chilly warmth to it.
The Orioles “(It’s Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas” is closer to the roots and has a rough primitive feel that suits the holidays well. While The Cadillacs “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is nicely ebullient and totally secular reminder of Christmas being fun.
southern group with the awesome moniker The Harmony Grits do a cool version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” that threatens to, but never quite explodes in your face.
The Four Seasons were a 60’s hit machine, with pretty good reason. They did a pretty forgettable Christmas album that had a few decent moments, on of them was their pure urban version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”.Vaughn Bode

Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Vaughn Bode
While the Harmony grits version reeks of the delta and road side diners the Four Season’s version smell of Philadelphia and Gimbels Christmas Parades. Good stuff.
One of the great innovators in doo wop was Dion of The Belmonts. Dion DiMucci reinvented himself nearly as often as Madonna. But he followed a musical line not simply fashion. Presently the “King of the New York Streets” is playing acoustic country blues! Its listenable stuff. When Dion was with the Belmonts they never really did any Christmas stuff. I don’t think you can talk doo wop without talking about Dion, so here’s one his his later tracks, doing that cool Phil Spectre song The Evil Dead “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. Its more rock than doo wop but it still sounds nice Christmas week.
Doo wop still hasn’t died. It continues in a lot of styles and samples. One of the strangest are the large 80’s looking acapella groups. Rockapella got famous by doing the title song for some PBS kids show, “Where In the World is Carmen San Diego” . . . they also did a pretty lamentable Christmas album. The track, “Silver Bells” is inoffensive and lilts as nicely as any song ever taken from a Bob Hope movie . . .

Is it Sunday yet?

The Vet

Click images for desktop size: “The Vet” by Unknown
The giant dog vomited this morning. There was blood in it.
Being a dog he’s staying pretty perky but refused his food even though it had egg in it.The Boogie Man
Have to watch him closely.
We went out and did four hours of shopping yesterday. Not Christmas shopping but just get supplies in survivor type shopping. I started to weaken at about 2 and a half hours. Too much time on my feet with no food and no pain pills. Got through it by steering all the carts and seeing how close I could come to the too many other shoppers out there.Christmas Lights 34

Click image: “Christmas Lights 34” by Unknown

We have discovered that the Salvation Army Store here is pretty good.
Got home and tried to watch a dog movie, “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas.” Great title. Movie seemed to have everything, Christmas AND dogs. It was dreadful. Acting so poor that it couldn’t be called amateurish. Only the crazy dog lady had a spark of talent but even she got sucked into the poorly conceived role and terrible writing. Even the costuming was insipid, and I’ve yet to comprehend the reason this “depression era” film was shot through constant heavy diffusion filters.
My friend thought it was exploitive. I just thought it was bad. Had to turn it off when, well, the plot is that this town has banned dogs, which is kind of “huh?” but I could bear with that. They have a Zen Garden

Click images for desktop size: “Zen Garden” by Unknown
dog catcher who seems to have some great disturbance mentally, or at least that’s the way they decided to play him. He catches up the dogs in the town and they just disappear. It appears that he hates dogs so much that he sells them to one of those notorious depression era dog fighting clubs . . . okay. I guess there’s a lot of money to be made catering to the blood thirsty desires of the homeless and unemployed. I see that’s evil but the dog fights are between a female Old English Sheep dog (who was very cute) and a neutered German Shepherd . . . I figure the headline fight was a pekinese against a Chihuahua.
The only commonsensical thing was they didn’t show any dog fighting. Instead a 10 year old girl City Without Baseball (with the stupidest hat and pig tails in movie history) swoops down and rescues the dogs while 20 adult men stand around and watch her escape. There’s too much dumbness to list and it all comes off as just dull.
The dogs are cute but clearly not movie trained. They claim, as an odd plot point that there are 51 dogs at the crazy dog lady’s house. But through out the movie I saw less than a dozen all toll.
This is just a movie to avoid.
Then watched the problematic “Frost/Nixon”.
Frank Langella gives a great performance. Its Oscar worthy for sure. All the acting is top notch. The film was . . . not that good. I liked that they hammered home a bit too incessantly that what Nixon was despised for is the same stuff that party boy frat house cheerleader George W is doing and laughing at us about. Its a point worth making.
The focus is too much on David Frost. A Brit mid-atlantic man who comes off pretty despicable in his own right.
I mean here’s a guy flying first class, staying in the best hotels and eating at all the best restaurants in LA ad we’re supposed to feel empathy because he’s using his own fortune and borrowing from his rich buddies to make this massive interview.
I didn’t buy it. It made the whole affair feel sleazy, like being in the house of a famous porn star. Langella’s performance made it work and held things together. He makes Nixon human and vulnerable while not letting us forget the monster and destroyer that he most surely was.
Christmas-Best Night of the Year

Click images for desktop size: “The Best Night of the Year” by Unknown
Its a fine line he walked and he did it gracefully. It would be like watching someone do a portrait of Hitler.
I was up and down all night. I’ll put it off to no college football anymore . . . and worry about Steve Sarkasian proving to me he is a total jerk by trying to hire away the entire USC coaching staff to go with him up to Washington. Doesn’t he know that there are other good coaches out there?

Today Christmas music focuses on punk Xmas. I always thought it was funny that punk bands paid any attention to Christmas at all. The first Christmas punk single I heard was from some Gardena band. They did a thrash version of “O Come All Ye Faithful”. It wasn’t very good. The record had a yellow label. And that’s all I really remember about it. That yellow label and its adolescent scream of “we’re so rebellious we even hate Christmas, but we still like Boys' Prison presents.”
The Dickies thrashy “Silent Night” is the first song I remember having an impact. I got it on this wild 45. It was pressed on clear vinyl that was shaped like a Christmas tree! The other tracks I’ve lost but they were great too. (Maibooz “Santa’s Gone Surfin'” and some turgid mawkish thing I don’t remember. I don’t have either of them to post.)
That was soon followed up with the freakish follow-up “(Its Gonna Be a) Punk Rock Christmas” by the Ravers. Its bad but funny and incredibly dated. I never heard of the Ravers before or since. Figure they were a mock band made up by some producer with dollar signs in his eyes who figured this could be a novelty hit.
Later on we got the awesome Shonen Knife doing “Space Christmas”. A nice bouncy Christmas tune with nice crunchy guitar.
Which somehow leads us to The Presidents Of The United States doing “Space Piglet”. This is on a Surfer Sihlouette by Chris Welch

Click images for desktop size: “Surfer Sihlouette” by Chris Welsh
punk compilation. I don’t like that the new punk would accept this.
I think that the tradition started with the Seattle garage punks of the 60’s. The sonics were part of a compilation album that the producer figured would generate a lot of interest. Its a pretty collectable album. Pretty amazing because its sort of dull. The Sonics stuff rules okay, but the Wailers are mawkish and dull and I can’t even remember the other tracks because they’re nothing but bad.
The Sonics tune, written to the tune of “Farmer John” was so good it was covered by Gruesomes covering “Santa Claus”. The coolness of the chorus, “I want a twangy guitar, a cute little honey and lots of money, Santa Claus,” says all I need it to say.
Before they eventually folded like a giant star collapsing in on itself the Sonics did another Marvel Holiday Special Christmas tune, “It’s Christmas” doesn’t destroy civilization like a lot of their tracks but nothing the Sonics do is ever dull or without interest.

Last week I was 11-5 in my football picks. In the past couple of years that would have been one of my off weeks. This season its one of my best. I figure corrupt officials! Its the only thing that explains the bizarre calls that have become a part of every game recently. My friend was 12-4. Which is easy to explain. She cheated.
With only three games left in the season the really cruddy games out number games of interest and good games. No one is really dominating are looking uncrushable. No one’s looking that good either. A lot of teams are looking that bad and a record number of teams are looking remarkably mediocre and boring.
As usual my picks are in bold.

New Orleans at Chicago – I picked the Saints. This was an incredibly unimpressive game. That the Bears will probably end up in first place this weekend is a shame. They’re a really poor team. The Saints have broken my heart. They looked just as bad as the Bears.

Washington at Cincinnati – The Redskins are in serious meltdown mode. Their stars are complaining, the intensity is fading as they are looking at another 8-8 season. Personally I don’t know how they played so well during that early stretch. The Bengals are officially a disaster. The bright spot of the season being a tie with the Eagles. So the Redskins should pull out of this one Christmas 31

Click images for desktop size: “Christmas Tree” by Unknown
pretty easily and build up some confidence.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta – A game of the week pretender. The Buccaneers looked pretty horrid against the flimsy Panthers last week. Matt Ryan is good but showed signs of the fatigue of the long season against the Saints. Both teams have their back against the wall. You’d have to figure this one to be low scoring and close. Normally I’d pick Buc’s coach Jon Gruden to do something stupid to cost them the game, but Ryan looks like he’s dealing with a tired arm and dead legs. He might be able to pull it together but the Tampa Bay defense should be too tough.

Tennessee at Houston – Since the Titans have clinched everything you can in the regular season the Texans best hope is for a total loss of concentration by the 12-1 Titans. Otherwise this could beCaptain Video really ugly. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Texans jump to an early lead before Tennessee wakes up and brings down the hammer.

Detroit at Indianapolis – I can think of no reason whatsoever to watch this game. Its a live scrimmage for the Colts. Calvin Johnson will play well for the Lions but no one will be able to get the ball to him.

Green Bay at Jacksonville – A strong contender for cruddy game of the week. Two teams with lost seasons playing out the string so they don’t have to give refunds on the season tickets. No offense for the Jaguars. The packers looking more than a little bit lost and dazzled. I suppose Green Bay could get crazy like they did against the Bears but it seems unlikely on the road.

San Diego at Kansas City – The AFC West is so poor the Chargers aren’t officially eliminated yet. These guys are playing for pride and next years contract. Kansas City has some talent but very little on defense. This is another cruddy game but Ladanian Tomlinson might wake up and go crazy. So

Click images for desktop size: “Swarm – detail” by Tessa
might Larry Johnson . . .

San Francisco at Miami – I’m sure the Dolphins were looking at this as a lock game but after the fire Mike Singletary has bought to the 49er’s and proven last week in their thumping of the Jets the Dolphins had better be leery. They’ve got much more talent than the Niners and they still have a shot at the playoffs. They still have a shot at winning the division. This suddenly is a game of the week contender!

Buffalo at the New York Jets – A lot of the luster is off this game. Two badly exposed teams. This could be competitive for all the wrong reasons. I’m going with Brett Favre to make a march to the playoffs. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t throw at least one incredibly painful pick.

Seattle at St Louis – Cruddy game of the week. This could top the Auburn 3-2 game for inept The Crawling Eye humor.

Minnesota at Arizona – The two worst divisions in football put their two best teams against each other. What a yawn. The Vikings D will harass Kurt Warner a little bit but he’ll still get his 300 yards. The Cardinal D will still give the Vikings their 13 points and we can all get to sleep early.

New England at Oakland – The Patriots are still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt but Matt Cassel’s, the Patriot’s QB, father passed away this week. Who can imagine what he’s going through. I’m not sure he’ll even play even though he returned to the team to practice. A tragic game whatever happens.

Denver at Carolina – Two teams playing bad football even with division leading records. Jay Cutler could lead the Bronco’s to a win but their defense is way to poor to stop the Panthers too few strengths.
Santa Checking it Twice

Click images for desktop size: “Santa Checking it Twice” by Unknown

Pittsburgh at Baltimore – Game of the week. Running scared Willie Parker won’t do much against a healthy and vicious Ravens defense. The Ravens believe in themselves and are nasty enough to prevent any miracles. The Steelers are leading the division due to inept calls and miracles. The Ravens have seen them already. Joe Flacco, Ravens rookie QB, is playing like a vet and not showing the expected fatigue. this game will have more hard hitting than the rest of the league. This is for the division lead, for pride and for honor. Ray Lewis is fighting Father Time and knows this might be his last chance to be on top of the world. They’ll be focused and ready to break the other teams heart. This might be the game of the year. If it goes to overtime we’ll se who has the bigger heart.

Cleveland at Philadelphia – The only thing this game will accomplish is to give the sportswriters the Beast of Blood chance to exclaim how the Eagles have pulled a dramatic turnaround and have gotten hot at the right time just like the Giants did last year. Its still a snoozer.

New York Giants at Dallas – The hyped game of the week. It should still be interesting. The guys are pro’s so I don’t put too much worry into Witten, Romo and Romo punching each other out during the game. What is a worry is just inept the Cowboy offense has looked for the last 8 games. The Giants won’t have their top rusher which will keep the game closer than it should be.

As usual these picks are a certain test of your laughing muscles. Even my puppy thinks she do better picks . . .

Giant dog going up and down. Outside by himself now, gorging on grass. We didn’t do any Christmas decorating yesterday as my friend has off from the 19th until after New Years. Seemed smart to wait until she could relax and have fun. Sick giant puppy might cause some plans to change. No difference to me or her so long as the big galloot feels good.