Holiday Posts

Top Ten Posts of 2014

2014 is almost at an end. (You probably don’t need me to tell you that, though, huh?) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post links to the most-read posts of my blog for 2014. Interesting mix of topics and content, at least to me. I’m glad folks are finding them. Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music – Hallowe’en Edition

Well, October is almost over. This is its last Monday, and I’ve only posted one spooky video in honor of Hallowe’en. That’s disappointing, at least to me. I’ll try to make up for it with a trio of videos today.

First up are the Brian Sisters, a singing trio successful in the 1930s and 1940s. Here they are in 1942 performing the tune “The Boogie Woogieman” with the Will Osborne Orchestra on a soundie called The Boogie Woogie Boogie Man (yeah, I don’t know with the titles)

Next up, another fun old clip: Louis Armstrong singing “Skeleton in the Closet.” This one’s from the 1936 Bing Crosby film Pennies from Heaven. I love Armstrong’s horn playing and the dancing skeleton.

And finally, something in color, although still kinda old. Let’s finish up with one from Siouxsie and the Banshees. Here’s “Spellbound” from 1981.

Happy Hallowe’en!

Categories: Holiday Posts, Monday Morning Music, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday Afternoon Music

And another Monday morning has zoomed by me. But it’s still Monday. And! It’s the first Monday of October, which means it’s time to start posting Hallowe’en videos! Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music – Happy Labor Day!

It’s another Labor Day here in the U.S. The workers actually had a bit of a victory in Massachusetts recently with the whole Market Basket thing. Nice to see working folks (employees and customers, in this case!) using their power to defeat corporate interests. We’ll see what comes of it. Having followed the case for a lot of the summer, and getting more of the local point of view than the business propaganda the national news presented, I’m somewhat hopeful. Continue reading

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Blog Birthday Winner!

It’s time to announce the winner of my Blog Birthday Giveaway!

subcipher ww-cover

Continue reading

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Happy Blog Birthday! Part 2!

My blog is two years old today! Happy Birthday to the blog!

Yojimbo pondering

Two years? Seriously?

Yes. Two years!

Isn't that wild?

Isn’t that wild?

Continue reading

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Monday Morning Music

Well, my apologies for not posting a video for you last week. Not sure why it didn’t happen. But I’m back today! And just in time for Xmas.

I’m not a fan of most Xmas songs, I must say. The ones I like, I’ve heard so many times, I don’t really need to anymore. And the songs I don’t like… Well, there are a lot more of them.

That said, Bad Religion‘s latest interview on NPR has me kind of psyched to get their new album. I love Bad Religion, you see. And they’ve put out a Xmas album. Yes, indeedy! From what snippets that were played during the interview, it sounds like a serious hoot.

Perhaps even a hootenanny.

Since I missed last week, I have two videos for you today. First up, Bad Religion’s performance of “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”

And, huh, I was going to post the video they put together for their version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” but it’s been taken down. It was a fun speeded up video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with BR’s version on top. I guess the MTC didn’t approve.

Instead, how about a little Erin McKeown? She came out with a fun anti-Xmas album a few years ago, partially in response to the absurd “War on Xmas” crap that’s still going on. Here’s “Christmas (Love It Or Leave It)” from McKeown’s Anti-Holiday Spectacular.

Happy Holidays to everyone, whatever you celebrate!

Categories: Holiday Posts, Monday Morning Music, Music | Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy Hallowe’en!

So, it hit me in the face this morning that I haven’t posted any spooky videos this month. And today’s Hallowe’en! I only have today left to do something about that. So why don’t I?

Let’s start with a cute promo that Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi filmed back in the ’30s. This always makes me smile.

And then a delightfully creepy clip from their 1945 film The Body Snatcher.

To finish up, one my favorite songs for Hallowe’en. The sorely missed Warren Zevon with “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.”

Enjoy the holiday, folks!

Categories: Holiday Posts, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Indigenous People’s Day – Plus Free Books!

So, I’ve had a problem with the celebration of Columbus Day ever since grade school when I first figured out that Columbus never set foot anywhere in North America, let alone the part that became the U.S. My disdain for the holiday only grew when I learned that Leif Ericson was actually the first European to land on the continent. Why don’t we have a Leif Ericson Day instead, I wondered. (Actually, we sort of do–October 9. Did you know this? I didn’t until now.)

 

Statue of Leif Erickson which stands in Milwau...

Statue of Leif Ericson in Milwaukee, WI.  He doesn’t look as Vikingy here as he does in many other statues. Interesting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Where was I? Oh yeah. Columbus Day. Like I said, it was the initial logicfail of the holiday that threw me off the bandwagon, but it was discovering more of what Columbus’s explorations began–colonization and genocide–that really got my goat. Like The Oatmeal asks in his latest cartoon, this guy’s worth celebrating?

 

My only problem with the cartoon is that, while I agree that Bartolomé de las Casas was the better man and deserves recognition for what he tried to accomplish once he repented of his earlier ways, by turning Columbus Day into Bartolomé Day, we’d still just be celebrating another dead white guy.

 

Bartolome de las casas

Bartolome de las casas–better than Columbus, but still… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Another dead white guy who, I have to admit, I used as a source while writing my novella “So The Taino Call It.” De las Casas’ book A Short Destruction of the Indies provides a lot of information about what Columbus and the men who came after him did to the original residents they found on the islands they “discovered.” But it is those original residents I think we should really be remembering today. There’s already a name for that holiday: Indigenous People’s Day. What would their lives be like, if the Europeans had never shown up in the first place? Or showed up in peace and humility? We’ll never know, but it’s interesting to think about.

 

In honor of that holiday, how’d you like to win a digital copy (DRM-free) of the anthology Substitution Cipher, a Candlemark & Gleam book that contains several cool alternate history stories of espionage, one of which is my tale of what might have happened if Columbus’s first voyage didn’t go quite as planned? Substitution Cipher also includes G. Miki Hayden’s tale “In God We Trust,” which explores a different historic path the people of North America might have taken.  There are also tales of Berlin, Venice, World War II, and the Cold War. It’s a neat collection. Comment on this post here and I’ll pick a random winner by next Monday.

 

Happy Indigenous People’s Day!

Millie Ketcheschawno, filmmaker, organizer and activist for Native American rights; she was one of the founders of the first Indigenous People's Day (still an annual event) in the U.S. 1937-2000

Millie Ketcheschawno, filmmaker, organizer and activist for Native American rights; she was one of the founders of the first Indigenous People’s Day (still an annual event) in the U.S. 1937-2000

 

 

Categories: Books/Authors, Holiday Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy Labor Day!

It’s a Monday holiday here in the states, a holiday originally created in the 19th century at the suggestion of union members to celebrate American workers. Various states passed legislation honoring the day beginning in the 1880s, but it wasn’t until 1894 that Labor Day became a national day of celebration. Congress passed the holiday shortly after the deaths of workers (thanks to the U.S. military and marshalls) during the Pullman Strike of 1894. Union folk originally wanted the day to be May 1 to coincide with other labor holidays around the world, but the powers-that-be rebelled, afraid the date would end up commemorating the Haymarket Massacre of 1886 (which happened on May 4) instead. (minor self-serving note: the Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument gets a shout-out in my novella, “To The Edges.”)

So, for today, I decided to go with a union song. There are many to choose from, but this is one of my favorites. “Union Town” came out in 2011 around the same time as Scott Walker in Wisconsin was doing his best to turn the state into his own little fiefdom. He’s mostly succeeded, and sadly survived a recall election, but a lot of brave folks have tried (and are still trying) to stop him. Tom Morello, as the Nightwatchman, wrote this song to honor them as well as the labor movement itself.

I heard today on NPR that people are liking labor unions a lot more this year than they have in the recent past. It’s about time.

Utah Phillips at the centennial ceremony for the Haymarket Massacre, standing in front of the Haymarket memorial in what is now Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, IL

Utah Phillips at the centennial ceremony for the Haymarket Massacre, standing in front of the Haymarket monument in what is now Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park, IL. Cool folk like Emma Goldman and Lucy Parsons are buried there.

Categories: Holiday Posts, Monday Morning Music | Tags: , , , , , ,

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