Monthly Archives: December 2009

52 great songs from the last 10 years….

I’ll (probably) still do my annual year end list, but for now, in no particular order, here are my 52 favorite songs from the last 10 years.

Why 52?  Because I got to 50 and forgot about the Fratellis, that’s why.

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Posted by on December 30, 2009 in music


from the things you wish you thought of dept…

Just a reminder: BBC America will be broadcasting The End Of Time, this year’s Doctor Who Christmas episode, tomorrow at 9pm.  Yay for not having to torrent wait!!!


Posted by on December 25, 2009 in doctor who


cover #27: “Fairytale of New York”, The Pogues

Hey, remember that April Covers project I forgot to finish?  Welll….

As a holiday gift to you, my friends and family and acquaintances, I present my cover of “Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues, recorded/performed/produced by me with additional vocal help from my friend Julia Lunetta.

It’s one of the great bummer christmas songs, but it has a great lesson of hope and love at the end.  Ah, the Irish….

Note: if you’re unfamiliar with the song, there are a couple words in it you may not want dear grandmama and little Billy to hear.  It’s all within the context of the song, however, so it can be excused.

You can download it directly from Houndbite by clicking on this link.  You can also hear it, streaming, by clicking this link.

Have a merry merry and a holly jolly, ho ho ho, etc.

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Posted by on December 24, 2009 in April Covers, War on Xmas!


big bang holidang round-up

Wow, this working-full-time thing really gets in the way of writing crappy posts about crappy Christmas specials.  Also, see, this year, I’ve actually been out and about, spreading actual holiday cheer that has less to do with cynicism and more to do with singing songs, being drunk, and singing drunken songs about being drunk on Christmas.

Case in point…. THING #1:  My cover of “Fairytale of New York”

Earlier this year, my friend Julia Lunetta (Second Shift, the Ignobel Prize) suggested that we get together and knock out a cover of the greatest Christmas song ever sung about dysfunctional alcoholic Irish-Americans, “Fairytale of New York.”   Now, people are always trying to get me to do something with them, and I usually think it’s a pretty damn good idea and say we should get right on that, and then I go home and turn on Anthony Bourdain and forget all about it.

Somehow, though, I actually decided to go through with this particular project, so Julia and I recorded a cover of The Pogues’ classic.   How did I manage to overcome my usual lack of follow-through with this particular project?  Well, partially, it’s because I really love the song and think it’s funny and touching, and I liked the idea of singing with Julia, but mostly it’s because I realized it would make for a super-cheap “friends” gift.   Irish blood, stingy Scottish heart, this I’m made of.

So we recorded it.  Now, Julia’s a superfan of a podcast called Coverville, which is a very popular podcast entirely made up of cover songs.  She decided to submit the song and -wouldn’t you know it – we were totally featured on their holiday episode! Ooh, and see, they’ve got this online poll where you can vote for your favorite song in each episode, and, wouldn’t ya know it, we’re in second place.  Second.  Behind Neil Diamond.  This wil not stand.  Please go listen to the podcast and give my song 10 stars, thank you.

Also, we will be performing this song at the Burren tuesday night during their open mic.  If you live near Somerville, MA, you should probably come, cuz it’s gonna be killer.

I’ll be releasing the song here for download on Christmas Eve, for free, cuz it’s a cover and I don’t feel like paying Shane McGowan for it, cuz he’s just gonna blow the money on healthy living and tofu.

THING #2:  The Advent Conspiracy

Doesn’t this sound like a crappy Dan Brown novel where Tom Hanks travels the world looking for hidden symbols in chocolate soldier one-a-day calendars?  Well, it’s not.

You know how douchenozzles like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have been getting their little frilly panties all in a bunch over their imaginary War On Christmas for several years now?   (Sorry, didn’t mean to tip my hand there.  Tis the Christmas season, after all, and I should be fairer to my fellow man.  So, I’ll start again.)

You know how horrible charlatan liars like Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are ruining America by spreading hateful noise about  (Okay, look, I really need to stop being so negative.  It’s Christmas, and it’s time to forgive.  So, let’s start again.)

You know how SOME PEOPLE are upset about this thing they’re calling the War on Christmas, which basically means that the lady at the Gap said “Happy Holidays” to them instead of  “Merry Christmas”, and that’s an act of religious oppresion on the same level as Kristalnacht?  Or, like, one school in Schenectady decided not to sing “Silent Night” this year at their pageant, which means that they’re coming to take your crucifix! And your guns!  And your crucifix-shaped guns!

Well, the whole point of the Advent Conspiracy is to point out that flipping out at the clerk at Filene’s for saying “Seasons Greetings” after you spent $1,432.50 on shiny gilded adornements people  don’t need completely misses the point of Christmas.   Like you’re less concerned about celebrating the birth of Jesus or spirit of giving, and more concerned that everyone acknowleges YOUR tradition and YOUR gifts.

I might not be paricularly religious, but I love it when religious people actually have the courage of their convictions.  The Advent Conspiracy basically says that we’ve lost the Christmas spirit, but that it has nothing to do with the town taking the manger off the town common, and everything to do with people over-spending, over-decorating, freaking out about everything being perfect, and neglecting to, you know, be nice to people.  Good on them for it.


Posted by on December 20, 2009 in Uncategorized


a very special christmas special: “Alf’s Special Christmas” (1987)

It’s that time of year again, when we gather round the electronic hearth and listen to tales, both old and new, that remind us at once of the coming of the new year and the passage of time, as well as what is was to once be young.  A TV christmas special, at its finest, is at once poignant and invigorating; funny and thoughtful, spectacular, but with the humblest of intentions.  At their best, they define for their audience what Christmas truly means in the broadcast media age.

Alf’s Special Christmas
… is not that.

Look, here’s the thing:  I’ve gotten more random comments about my write-up of Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search For Santa Claus than I ever would have expected.  I seem to have lit a fire in the minds of America’s 30-somethings, all now reminded of this truly bizarre combination of homespun warmth and Hollywood shamelessness.  Now, everyone wants a copy of it, and it’s nowhere to be found.  Call it Andy978 and the Grown-Ups Who Used To Sort Of Wish They Were NBC Kids Search For Andy Williams and the NBC Kids Search For Santa Claus. On second thought, don’t call it that.  That’s a crappy title.

So, when I found yet another obscure NBC Christmas special on Hulu last week, I thought the stars were aligning.  I thought the Christmas Gods were smilin’ down on ol’ Andy.  There it was – Alf’s Special Christmas – starring good old Alf.   Always good for a laugh, that Alf.  I’d never seen the thing myself, but maybe – just maybe – someone out there had fond memories of it.  Even better, it was on Hulu.  It was on the internet legally.  Meaning: it wasn’t going to mysteriously disappear in a week after NBC/Universal discovered we were having fun with it.

“Hark!” I said.  “Here is where our Christmas season truly begins!  We shall watch this Alf’s Special Christmas, and yea verily, we shall make fun of it, and lo, our snark shalt bring us together in great joy.”  And so, with pen in hand, ready to
take notes, I pushed play.

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Posted by on December 2, 2009 in christmas specials, nostalgia, tv, War on Xmas!


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it’s coming…

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Posted by on December 1, 2009 in Uncategorized