Two For Tuesday: Merry Christmas!

We’re going to take a week off from our deep dive into smooth jazz to play a little Christmas music from the Philippines.

A couple of very good friends of ours, Gene and Angie Varona, are members of Kayumanggi Rondalla, a group of Filipino musicians who make some beautiful music on traditional instruments. Gene is the man playing the small guitar-like instrument to the right of the conductor, and Angie is to his right, obscured by their director about half the time. Both of them are excellent musicians and some of the finest people we know. Here are the songs they play in this playlist:

  1. Christmas Medley
  2. Lulay
  3. Happy Birthday, Jesus
  4. Silent Night/Still
  5. Mabuhay
  6. Zamboanga

I’ll be back tomorrow. Merry Christmas!

MONDAY’S MUSIC MOVES ME: ‘Twas The Week Before Christmas…

No real rhyme or reason to the songs I picked today, just songs I like.

  1. Lucy & Schroeder From A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy asking Schroeder to play her a song.
  2. Walt Kelly, “Deck Us All With Boston Charlie” From the comic strip Pogo by Walt Kelly, this was a classic song they sang in the swamp one year. Dad knew it and used to sing it, and Uncle Jack mentioned it a while back.
  3. John Williams and The Boston Pops, “Sleigh Ride” This was written by Leroy Anderson, who also wrote “The Syncopated Clock,” “Holiday for Strings,” and “The Typewriter,” among others. Arthur Fiedler used to feature Leroy’s music in performances by The Boston Pops, and as you can see John Williams continued the tradition.
  4. Los Straitjackets, “Linus and Lucy” Written by Vince Guaraldi for A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s been featured in all the Peanuts specials since. Los Straitjackets are an instrumental rock band from Nashville that performs in masks. I rather like them, myself.
  5. United States Navy Band, “Dueling Jingle Bells” When you cross “Dueling Banjos” with “Jingle Bells,” the results are pretty amazing, as you’ll see and hear in this clip. Didn’t get the names of the players, but all are senior NCO’s.
  6. Irish Defence Forces, “The Little Drummer Boy” The pipers from the Irish Defence Forces, the military of the Republic of Ireland, play this. I was in a bagpipe mood.
  7. Clan Currie, “Angels We Have Heard On High” More Christmas bagpipes, this by a family group.
  8. Judy Garland, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” From the 1944 film Meet Me In St. Louis starring Judy Garland. These are the original lyrics from the movie; most popular versions use different lyrics. The choir at church does this during the Christmas season at the Sign of Peace, and I find it very hard to keep my composure.
  9. John Denver and The Muppets, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” From 1979’s John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. After the last song, I figured we could use a laugh.
  10. Arlo Guthrie, “The Pause Of Mr. Claus” From his 1968 live album. In the interest of time, I found a version that just had the song. The longer one had a pretty funny monologue that was indicative of the time.
  11. Andy Williams, “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” Andy Williams and Christmas go together like Scotch and soda.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 18, 2017. Only seven more days ’til Xmas!

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


Monday’s Music Moves Me: More Christmas Songs

I wrote a Friday Five post of Christmas songs last year, and thought it was good enough that I could add a few more songs and come up with another playlist. So, here ya go, for Christmas Extravaganza 2017, Week 2!

  1. Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, “Silver Bells” From 1951’s The Lemon Drop Kid, an adaptation of Damon Runyon’s story with music added. That’s William Frawley, who you know from I Love Lucy and My Three Sons, doing the singing at the beginning of the clip.
  2. Burl Ives, “Silver And Gold” Burl won my recent Battle of the Bands, and here he is as the voice of Sam the Snowman from the 1964 Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, doing one of my favorite songs from that show.
  3. Pentatonix, “The Little Drummer Boy” This group’s harmony is incredible and their arranging skills are fantastic.
  4. Tommy Emmanuel, “Jingle Bells” My favorite fingerstyle guitar player and the last person on whom the late Chet Atkins bestowed the title Certified Guitar Player.
  5. Mel Blanc, “Ja, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree” The man of a thousand voices puts on a Teutonic accent for this humorous adaptation of the German language teaching song “Schnitzelbank,” which, if you’ve ever been to a German restaurant with a floor show, you’ve probably sung. The first time I heard it was at The Brown Bear restaurant on North Clark Street in Chicago. Gemütlichkeit!
  6. Eartha Kitt, “Santa Baby” Can’t let a Christmas season go by without hearing this classic by the woman Orson Welles called “the most exciting woman in the world.”
  7. Porky Pig, “Blue Christmas” You’re getting a double shot of Mel Blanc this week as Porky stutters his way through this Elvis Presley hit. Actually, I think it’s someone else, but Mel provided the original voice.
  8. The Royal Guardsmen, “Snoopy’s Christmas” A song dedicated to that intrepid World War I Flying Ace and his never-ending battle against Manfred von Richthofen, a/k/a The Red Baron. They take a few minutes off from their air battle to celebrate the holiday.
  9. Thurl Ravenscroft, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” The voice of Tony The Tiger provided the vocal for this song, from the 1966 special, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which runs every year at this time somewhere.
  10. Bing Crosby, “Mele Kalikimaka” Der Bingle gives us this Christmas-in-Hawai’i song.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for December 11, 2017. Happy birthday, Jim!

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


Writer’s Workshop: The Christmas of Broken Toys

Today’s prompt: Write about a time you wasted your money.

Mary and I have a deal at Christmas: we buy for ourselves, then pretend we got the stuff from each other. She usually wants knitting books, yarn, and other knitting paraphernalia, and at the time I was heavy into computers and peripherals. We’d have ended up having to tell each other exactly what we wanted and where to get it from, and finally we decided to eliminate the middleman. Works for us.

This one Christmas I couldn’t decide what I wanted, and it was getting close to Christmas. Finally, I was flipping through a catalog and saw a bunch of computer accessories I thought I could use, and they came to $50 with shipping and everything. So, I ordered it, and was relieved that I had finished my Christmas shopping.

The stuff all came in a box, and I held off opening it until Christmas morning. I brought all of it up to my office and started plugging it in. Understand, this was in the olden days when peripherals all came with driver software and nothing attached with USB cables, so I had to actually screw the stuff into the back of my computer. I got everything attached and ready to go… and nothing worked. I tried installing the drivers, and none of them would install, or it wouldn’t find the device I had installed and would tell me so, in large letters.

I go to the vendor’s website and find driver software, but had the same issues with what I downloaded. I tried every trick I knew, and it still wouldn’t install, and I couldn’t use the stuff without the appropriate drivers. Of course, it being Christmas Day, no one was working, so I put the stuff aside and figured I would call in the morning.

When I finally got through to them, the guy asked, “What release of Windows are you running?”

“NT,” I said.

“Ohhhhhhh… that stuff won’t work on Windows NT. It’ll work on 95 and ME, but that’s as far as we’re supporting those items. You might try getting your money back from whoever sold the stuff to you.”

So I call the people I bought the stuff from, and was told the stuff was on final clearance and couldn’t be returned.

$50 worth of peripherals, no good on my release of Windows. I just threw the stuff away. Merry Christmas.