Monday, December 22, 2008


It's so cold I think I'm turn-n-n-n-ning into Frostilicus.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Holly and the Ivy

I've had 'The Holly and the Ivy' in head for the second straight Christmas. So much so, my wife and I made a swag of holly and ivy to hang on our entrance gate. It's a song I don't really remember singing when I was a kid. After all, it was about plants. No flying horned, red-nosed animals. No fat fellows in furry, red suits, watchin' you sleep, sliding down the chimney. Holly, ivy. Boring.

After looking into the lyrics, they seemed really odd. The first part of the verses paint a beautiful, sylvan setting and the last part of the verses are overtly Christian. They didn't really fit, this was clearly part of a much broader war on 'pre-Christmas'. I assumed it was a pre-christian, pagan, winter solstice song, that had somehow managed to survive. After further digging around the internet(and several horrific midi files), I eventually found several pre-christian variations. The song apparently derived from "The Contest of the Holly and the Ivy", has some Druidic roots and in the interest of brevity, I will leave it at that. In a way, when you listen to the song, you are listening to a piece of an ancient celebration. More info the regarding the Holly and the Ivy at this site.

"Holly stands in the hall, fair to behold:
Ivy stands without the door, she is full sore a cold.
Nay, ivy, nay, it shall not be I wis;
Let holly have the mastery, as the manner is.

Holly and his merry men, they dance and they sing,
Ivy and her maidens, they weep and they wring.
Nay, ivy, nay, it shall not be I wis;
Let holly have the mastery, as the manner is."

Here's the song as we know it today.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nicknames for Your Dog?

The Mt. Adams Reindog Parade invades my neighborhood every year, and this weekend (Sat, Dec 13th) it will happen again. It features over 500 barking dogs, jolly people, little marching bands, barking nativity canines, doggie elves, santae (santae is a word made up on the spot to imply more than one Santa, it sounds kinda scientific, bet Bush would use it), reindogs galore. It's great fun. If you have a properly behaved canine. Mine is not.

For some reason I have a variety of nicknames for the dog. I don't think I'm alone in doing this. Here's a shortlist of a.k.a's:

  • Mr. Neropants
  • Stinky
  • Furball
  • Lord Furrybottom
  • Sir Farts-A-Lot
  • Stinky Johannsen
  • The Canine Unit
  • Squirrel Boy
  • CUJO

Our beast was a rescue and we're not sure what happened to him in his first year but it wasn't pleasant. He's great with us but when another dog gets close he acts all friendly then bites 'em on the end of the nose. He won't get to play in any Reindog games :-(

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Bruce Almighty' Springsteen - Working on a Dream

I was out walking Lord Furrybottom (Nero) at lunch and for some reason I started thinking about an old Boss recording called 'Nebraska'. It was bleak, dark, and I enjoyed it very much. I have to admit, I kind of lost touch with the Boss after 'Tunnel of Love'. I was a big fan of his stuff in high school but sometimes when artists get so huge, you just burn out on them. Not to knock the artist.

Such was the relationship with me and the Boss' music. I like the fact that he's floating in space in this cover art, like Bruce Almighty gazing down lovingly upon his minions. Since the Boss did some shows for Obama, I think it might be time to check out Mr. Springsteen's latest effort. You gotta love a guy with a dream.

Hey, if I'm not there, start without me.

What it Feels Like to be a Bengals (1-11-1) Fan

This sums up a dismal season. Key injuries and crippling upper-Mis-management by the Bengals ownership, have left hopeful fans blind-sided. Below, Bengals nemesis Heinz Ward, of the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers, puts his helmet on Keith Rivers' chin. Rivers left the game w/ a broken jaw.

Oh well, I gotta go walk the dog. It's warmed up to 27 degrees. I've been practicing my celsius and I think that's -1. Gotta go walk the canine unit.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Worst Christmas Song Ever

Sure - Granny getting hit by a reindeer is a bad tune, but it was supposed to be bad. "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot" was a B-side to one of Nat King Cole's more famous hits, "The Christmas Song". I found an old, vibrato-filled version, by Vera Lynn, but it doesn't hold a Xmas candle to this number.

This song never pulls out of the melancholy nosedive it starts in. It's so sad, you start laughing, particularly around the part where Nat starts talkin' 'bout "that little boy who lives across the way... That little fella's Christmas is just another day." Damn I'm chokin' up just thinkin' about it...