Resolutions 2014

resolutions 2014


If you want to know how I feel about New Year’s resolutions in general, please see the above illustration. “Foo” says it all.



But I love the idea of resolutions. What could be nicer than making a fresh start? Suddenly “next year” becomes “this year,” and we have an entire nice expanse of time before us, like a yardful of untrodden snow.



So let’s make us some resolutions!



1)    Stop complaining. Foo. No chance.

2)    Be healthy. Easier said than done, but there’s no way 2014 could be worse than 2013 from a health point of view. If I can manage to keep my organs from actually dropping out of my body this year, I will be doing okay

3)    Appreciate the good things more. This might actually be doable. Today’s bitterly cold in Providence, for example, but the sky is a lovely blue. Why not appreciate the lovely blue sky, even while cursing the weather?

4)    Maximize the love in the world. As a deeply flawed person, it amazes me that people actually like me, and I try whenever I can to return the favor. I already tell Partner several times a day how much I love him. I am also lucky enough to have friends – Patricia and Apollonia – whom I truly love, and who express their love for me in various oddball ways. I have always appreciated this, and after my illness I appreciate it even more.

5)    Work on the family history. This has been going on for over twenty years; I leave it and come back to it, mostly assembling records and keeping track of marriages and deaths. It’s fun and instructional, which brings me back to it, and incredibly tedious, which drives me away again.

6)    Practice my ukulele chords. Every day. I promise.




And finally:



7)    Be a better person.





For Christmas: Fairuz sings “Jingle Bells” in Arabic

I wasn’t going to put out a Christmas special this year until I happened upon this: Fairuz, one of the most popular Arabic singers, doing “Jingle Bells.” This version has very sweet subtitles which are mainly pretty good, but are charmingly goofy when they go off the rails.

Who is it, do you suppose, who’s delivering all those dates? And what’s with the bracelet?

Happy Christmas to all.

Patti Page maple syrup

patti page

It’s time to think about holiday giving. People aren’t getting much from me this year; if I have the strength to bake a few Russian teacakes and put them in cute little containers, that’ll be about the size of it.

But some years I do better. There are always catalog gifts (who doesn’t like a cheese wheel?). And sometimes I come up with something absolutely brilliant, which then falls flat.

One year Partner came up with the best gift ever: bottles of Patti Page maple syrup, straight from New Hampshire. Patti Page was a 1950s singer who, upon retirement, moved north, bought a maple orchard, and started bottling her own syrup. The syrup was okay, but the bottle was incredible.  There was a little light-activated mechanism inside the cap; as soon as you opened the bottle, Patti warbled a little sugary-sweet maple-syrup song.

This was absolutely perfect, I thought. So I bought half-a-dozen bottles, and sent them out, and  –

Almost no response. “Thanks for the syrup,” I got from one or two people.

Then, over the next few years, I started getting little messages from those same people. “Did you know that that bottle of syrup sings a song? We just opened it, and –“

Oh yes. It took some of them two years or so to open my gift.

Merry Christmas!

For the Fourth of July: the National Anthem, from “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”

national anthem boy named charlie brown

I’m not terribly patriotic, so I never know what to put here for these patriotic holidays.



Then I remembered this very cute little segment from the 1969 animated movie “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” in which Snoopy manages (with very limited means) a very dramatic presentation of the National Anthem.







For New Year’s Day: I’m going to reform!


You know I try to provide something different for holidays.

Well, here it is, New Year’s Day 2013, and I have nothing.

No songs, no pertinent video clip, no nothing. This is my fifty-sixth New Year’s Day on earth, and I find that I have nothing inspirational to share.

Well, maybe one thing: a quatrain from Don Marquis, written by the cockroach Archy. Archy kept slipping, and repenting, and rebelling, and falling into line again. This is from one of his more repentant periods:

i sing the glad noo year

that s tending toward the norm

my song is one of cheer

i m going to reform

That’s a nice all-purpose resolution.

Happy New Year, kids.

For Christmas: Grace Jones sings “The Little Drummer Boy”

Okay, it’s Christmas, and it’s Obama’s second term. I get it. I need to be inclusive. I need to put something out here for everyone.

How about Grace Jones, circa 1990, on Pee-Wee Herman’s Christmas special, wearing a bizarre metallic headdress and breastplate and singing a technopop version of “The Little Drummer Boy”?


Now that’s inclusive.


Joyeux Noel.

For Christmas Eve: Dominic the Italian Christmas donkey

Dominick, the Italian Christmas donkey

There are some Christmas songs that I block out of my mind, until I hear them the next December, and think: Oh dear little lord Jesus, I forgot about that one.

This is one of them.

The more Italian you know, the funnier this song gets.




I am not feeling much like Christmas this year. My feelings for the holiday have been diminishing for a couple of years now; I used to enjoy decorating, and looking at lights, and giving gifts, and getting gifts in return. Now it’s just a list of things to do: buy a few things, mail some cards, write emails to those people that I’ve been neglecting shamelessly for months now. Partner and I will go away for a few days between Xmas and New Year’s, just for the hell of it, and to break up our routine.

This is exactly the way my parents felt about Christmas when I was a kid. I hated their bad attitude, and swore I’d never be that cynical.

And here we are today.

I have decided, though, that I’m not going to rain on anyone’s parade this year. My mother used to whine and complain about Christmas to anyone who’d listen. I do not intend to follow her example. Why ruin other people’s fun?

Better to light a candle, etc., etc.

But not everyone agrees:


you stupid darkness

For Thanksgiving 2012: Adam Sandler sings “The Thanksgiving Song”


This is an old favorite. I think he sings it differently every time; I don’t remember the part about his brother and the baby oil. Also, the annotator here misspelled “Cheryl Tiegs.”

But who cares?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

For Halloween: the Monster Mash, by Boris Pickett and the Cryptkicker Five


This isn’t the original, but it’ll do.


Happy Halloween!


And whatever did happen to the Transylvania Twist?



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