Aaron’s Christmas Playlist 2016

1. Frosty the Snowman by Fiona Apple
2. We Wish You a Merry Christmas by Booker T and the Mars
3. Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You by Billy Squier
4. Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
5. Christmas Song by Mogwai
6. Christmas Treat by Julian Casablancas
7. This Christmas by Donny Hathaway
8. O Holy Night by Weezer
9. Get Down for the Holidays by Jenny O.
10. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (remix) by Kay Starr
11. Wonderful Christmastime by Sir Paul McCartney
12. Please Come Home for Christmas by The Eagles
13. Christmas in Hollis by Run DMC
14. Father Christmas by The Kinks
15. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town by Bruce Springsteen
16. White Christmas by Iggy Pop
17. Silent Night by Dinah Washington
18. White Christmas by The Drifters
19. 2000 Miles by Pretenders
20. Santa’s Beard by They Might Be Giants
21. Just Like Christmas by Low
22. We Three Kings by The Reverend Horton Heat
23. Whatever Happened to Christmas by Aimee Mann
24. We Wish You A Merry Christmas by Shonen Knife
25. I Did It For The Toys by Dance Hall Crashers
26. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band
27. Winter Wonderland by Macy Gray
28. Ain’t no Chimneys in the Projects by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
29. Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder
30. Run Rudolph Run by Chuck Berry
31. Oi to the World by No Doubt
32. Christmas Feeling Ska by Toots and the Maytals
33. Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano
34. Do The Know It’s Christmas by Bare Naked Ladies
35. Sleigh Ride by The Boston Pops Orchestra
36. Christmastime by Smashing Pumpkins
37. Who’s Up there by Bhi Bhiman
38. The Christmas Waltz by SOAK
39. Ave Maria by Born Cages
40. Christmas Alone by YACHT
41. Jingle Bells by Avid Dancer
42. New Year’s Day by Turin Brakes
43. Champagne (I’m Ready) by Lisa Loeb
44. Surviving Christmas by Sondre Lerche & Jherek Bischoff
45. Donuts in the Snow by The Reverend Horton Heat
46. It’s Only Christmas by Moon Taxi
47. Christmas with You by Fruit Bats
48. Christmastime by Rogue Wave
49. Silent Night by Wild Child
50. Jingle Bells by Crash Test Dummies

I’m Not Giving Up, and Neither Should You

I heard on the radio the other day a bit of the story about how Leonard Cohen, who died this week, wrote his best-known song, “Hallelujah.” The song had 80-some verses and sometimes drove Cohen crazy.

Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for “Hallelujah”, with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor.

John Cale eventually covered the song, as did a youngster named Jeff Buckley, whose version of the song became the standard bearer. Buckley’s album “Grace” is likely to be number one on many “albums you need to have” lists, and his version of Cohen’s masterpiece is key as to why.

Other covers abound with different interpretations. Rufus Wainwright has performed it, as have k.d. lang, Regina Spektor, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Bono, Amanda Palmer, Willie Nelson, I mean, here, here’s a list of 60 (thanks, Newsweek).

And, last night, on live national television, it was covered by Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton. And that was brilliant. That is why Kate McKinnon holds a doctorate in what she does. It was so bittersweet, so effective, the jiu-jitsu of feeling the loss of a great American songwriter while playing through what many of us feel was a loss of the great America itself.

I hadn’t cried yet over the loss to Trump. But boy, that brought it out of me. Thanks, comedian.

Because that’s what this feels like. It’s been slipping away for a while now, what with the idiocy-as-a-leadership-quality approach seen in folks like George W. Bush and Prudence Palin. Now we’ve elected a man who ran on a platform of pointing to specific groups of people and saying THEY are the problem, and we are going to get rid of THEM to solve the problem.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Newt Gingrich on Face the Nation this morning poo-pooed such allusions. He called it “garbage.” Said he’d never heard of the “alt-right” before this. Republicans don’t mind riding such ugly, Bircher-powered waves, but confront them to acknowledge them, and you will face a cloudburst of denial and false outrage.

Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in part by tapping into scapegoatism, via a radical jingoism, racism, misogyny, and general angry hatred. If you are a Republican and you deny that, you are simply doing more of your putting your head in the sand.

I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton early on. I don’t think I was “wrong,” per se. As I write this, Mrs. Clinton leads the popular vote by 600,000 votes. She only lost the presidency by losing Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Three states. And we cannot possibly know how Mr. Sanders would have fared in the general election. I maintain that he was an utterly unvetted candidate who would have been trounced.

However, I think my party needs to beat a path to Bernie’s door now. Because, mark my word, this new Republican regime in Washington will over-reach. It’s what they do when they assume all levers of power. And, when they do, we had better have an organization that’s ready.

I say now that the way to get ready is to line up behind the socialist.

What have we got to lose?

In Other News

An analysis of Donald Trump’s election win and the prospects for his presidency

Here We Go

For many years, I have slept on a futon. I don’t even bother to open it up because it is more comfortable to me as sofa. Opened, the slats sort of come through, and as a side sleeper, this is not cool. The futon was a necessity when I was living in a cramped studio apartment. I have since changed up to a one-bedroom. And so I have been furnishing and organizing and plotting and planning. There was a dishwasher fiasco the likes of which you would not believe. But all of it was leading to the purchase of the bed.

Which got done yesterday. As of this Friday, I will sleep on Serta just like a normal American.

A fabulous development.

Also did a little canvassing with my Dad for the Democrats today. Well. He canvasses. I drive. It’s nice because he doesn’t have to worry about driving and can mark his lists while I’m getting us out the driveway. But while we were working for our Democrats, we couldn’t help but commiserate over how over this torturous election process is.

So. I think you all know by now how I will be voting. But I wanted to write a bit tonight about * how * I will be voting.

You know, we hear every five minutes that the two major parties have managed to field two of the least liked candidates like, evar. I see feedback from all manner of voters, liberals, conservatives, Beatles fans, Elvis fans, all kinds of folks, that they will place their vote sporting a clothespin on their nose to keep the stench from reaching their thalamus. I am not one of those voters. Not by a mile.

My Facebook pals will know the line I’ve echoed there time and time again: “Have I mentioned that I cannot wait to vote for Hillary Clinton?”

Look. When these pundnosticators equivocate the public’s seeming dislike of each candidate, they are discounting completely the relentless public relations campaign effort of the last 30 years to discredit and delegitimize Bill and Hillary Clinton. The “right-wing conspiracy” is not a made-up thing. It exists. And its strategy for decades has been to keep blood libel after blood libel in the public’s face regarding these good people, the latest of which being this foolish e-mail nonsense, which should have been laid to rest today but most certainly won’t be.

The difference between the unfavorable numbers between these two candidates is that Trump actually earned his.

Hillary Clinton is an accomplished public servant. She is, for example, the first presidential candidate I have ever heard succinctly support the #trustwomen position on abortion. She stridently explained when questioned about her position the tragic medical necessity for some such procedure after 20 weeks. I support her based upon her response to this question alone. A preznit who truly understands this issue would certainly be nice.

I will walk into that voting booth to vote for Hillary Clinton, not for a party and not in opposition of a stink-bomb. She is the strongest candidate to ever run for the office, and I think her presidency is going to be transformational and powerful. I cannot wait to vote for Hillary Clinton, and if ya’ll are holding your noses, maybe ya’ll better vote different or think differently about your vote. You can vote proudly for Mrs. Clinton. But there is no way possible, not even squinting or scrunching your mouth funny, that you can do the same with the funny orange man. His election would be a horrible misstep for our little country.

Vote for Hillary and leave the booth skanking. You can. I promise.

In Other News

(Trombone Shorty. Sunrise. You’re welcome.)

Fcuk-All

The intro to tonight’s 60 Minutes report on some musicians in Malawi by Anderson Cooper:

“Something unusual happened on the way to the Grammy Awards this past year: an album was nominated from Malawi, a small country in southern Africa not exactly famous for its music. The artists weren’t polished pop stars but prisoners and guards — men and women in a place called Zomba, a maximum-security prison so decrepit and overcrowded, we heard it referred to as ‘the waiting room of hell.’ How could such beautiful music come from such misery? We went to Malawi to find out.”

How could beautiful music come from misery?

Anderson Cooper knows fcuk-all about music.

Grandma G’s Trademark Laugh

My Grandma G laughed a certain laugh, one without abandon and with her whole entire body, not at jokes or at funny or ironic situations, but when she was excited for you and your good news, or when she was excited to see you.

It was a laugh unique to her and I never realized while she was living how generous it was. She gave me that laugh again while she was on her second-to-last bed with a mask strapped to her face offering her body 100 percent oxygen, which her body was likely using only a fraction thereof, due to her heart not working much at all at the time.

It was about the new apartment. I had not yet moved in but the move was finally on the calendar. And she wanted every shred of news she could get out of me. And we talked about the new apartment, and she gave me that laugh and told me how excited she was about it.

I think the oxygen, while it was not actually contributing to her respiration, I think it was somehow energizing her. The nurses had to remind her not to talk too much, not to get too excited, because, you know, all that stuff uses more oxygen.

That was the last time I saw her fully cognizant. The last time, and she gave me that generous, excited-for-you laugh. I am at her house tonight, and when I walked through the door, I heard that laugh, though now only in my head.

But I heard it. I reckon I always will. I just wish I’d recognized it for what it was when she was here. That woman had pure joy for everyone in her life and was so excited about good news from them that it made her laugh better than she laughed about anything else.

Gosh she was something.

Just down the road from me, there’s a local furniture store. See, you leave my apartment and make a right and then you got through this intersection and then down the road a little and to the left, there’s this furniture store. And this furniture store hires one person per corner on that intersection to stand there and hold a big sign advertising the store’s current sale.

So, I’m in the market for furniture these days. And I’ve seen these people standing on the corner holding these signs all summer long. And I’ve had a dilemma because this store has nice furniture. But I’m not sure how I feel about buying furniture from a store that hires people to stand out on a street corner holding signs. It seems demeaning, and I can’t imagine these hardy people are earning much.

So today it was rainy and blustery out. And I saw one of these employees just give up. She did. In the time I sat at the intersection and made my turn right, she threw down the sign, got her mobile phone from her purse, and made a call.

It’s refreshing to in a single moment catch someone in a genuine “fuck this shit” moment.

P.S. The TV stand I purchased from there last week is really beautiful.

Gimme Gimee

Me First and the Gimeee Gimees sing Nothing Compares. You’re welcome.