I Know Little About Music, But Here Are My Very Important Opinions About It That Obviously Invalidate Yours

I love Christmas music. I start listening to it earlier than most people would find appropriate and/or healthy. And even though I’m not in the car nearly as much now that I’m working remotely, at this time of year, my car radio is still always set to the local station that plays Christmas music all day, every day through December 25th.

As such, I have a lot of thoughts about songs of the season, and since I have this website, I’m going to write some of them here. So, strap yourselves in because this is about to get really dumb.

The first song I want to discuss is The Jackson 5’s version of I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. I have so many things to say about this one:

  • The most important thing about this song is the backup Jacksons singing, “Tickle, tickle, Santa Claus.” It will never not be hilarious and it’s what makes this the definitive version of this song. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, skip to about the 1:00 mark of the song here:
  • Okay, this has to do with the premise of the song itself, and not just the Jacksons’ version of it. The song only works in its intended “wink wink, nudge nudge” way if the listener knows that Mommy isn’t actually kissing Santa Claus, right? Otherwise, it’s about a kid stumbling across his mother cheating on his father, and that cannot be the basis of a cutesy Christmas song.

    So, my question is: how do kids who still believe in Santa interpret this song when it comes on the radio?
  • If Mommy isn’t tickling the real Santa, but is instead just getting festively frisky with her husband, then that means that Daddy is in full Santa garb when the kid catches him under the mistletoe with her. Does anyone actually do this? Does anyone go to the effort to dress up as Father Christmas on the off-chance that his nosey kid will sneak out of his room and catch him making out with Mommy? Or does Mommy have a certain fetish that requires Daddy to be in the complete Santa outfit?

    Again, the premise of this song either relies on unrealistic scenarios and/or should not be considered a fun Christmas song.
  • Going back to the Jackson 5 version of the song, Michael plainly says that he will tell his father what he saw. There’s even a line in the song about “what a laugh it would have been / if Daddy had only seen / Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night.”

    Given what I remember from The Jacksons: An American Dream when I watched it 28 years ago on ABC, I don’t think anyone would be laughing if Michael told Joe Jackson what he saw. Either it was Joe kissing Katherine Jackson, and Joe would likely beat Michael for sneaking out of bed and/or not using that time on rehearsing, or it wasn’t Joe that was kissing her that night, and things will not be looking good for Mommy.

    Either way, the more you delve into this song, the more horrific it becomes.
  • But then, at around the 2:00 minute mark of the song, Michael’s brothers again sing their iconic “Tickle, tickle, Santa Claus” line and it’s back to being hilarious.

Now, we’re moving on to Chicago’s version of Let It Snow! I really only have one thing to say about this one and again, it’s about an interesting choice made by backup singers. For some unfathomable reason, an entire line of the chorus is just replaced with “oh”s and “oo”s.

In a normal version of the song, it goes:

When we finally kiss good night / How I’ll hate going out in the storm / But if you really hold me tight / All the way home I’ll be warm

But for some reason, the backup singers just drop the line “How I’ll hate going out in the storm” and just “oo” it up. Listen here at the 0:50 mark:

First of all, “storm” and “warm” rhyme; “ooh” and “warm” do not. Congratulations, you just made the song worse.

Second, why remove that line in particular? Are the members of Chicago climate change deniers and they don’t even want to acknowledge the existence of storms? Or did they forget that particular line, make some noises as a placeholder, and then never go back to record the correct words?

I can’t make sense of it, and this song is therefore terrible.

Next up is a song that I thankfully don’t hear on the radio. Back in 2005, I worked at Circuit City around the holidays. In the computer section, we played a CD on a loop and it contained what I maintain is the worst Christmas song ever. The album was Now, That’s What I Call Christmas 2 and the song is Destiny’s Child’s Opera of the Bells.

Maybe it’s because I heard it so many times while working that year, but I decided then and there that it was the worst Christmas song in existence, and it hasn’t been unseated since.

(I’m not embedding the song here, but you can seek it out if you want to subject yourself to it.)

But that’s enough negativity. By far, my favorite Christmas song is O Holy Night.

I’ve heard many versions of it, but I think my favorite comes from the Christmas episode of Aaron Sorkin’s least successful television show (at least in terms of total episodes): Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I actually liked the show, but this particular episode is my favorite because of the version of the song, played by New Orleans jazz musicians displaced after Hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a version of it without dialogue from the show:

I think it’s perfect.

My runner-up favorite version of the song is probably Al Green’s.

If any of you have a favorite version of this song, I’d love to know what it is.

Anyway, I don’t really know what prompted me to write all of this up, but I did, and I just hope that the seven people who actually read this will forever sing “Tickle, tickle, Santa Claus” everytime they hear I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Jackson 5 version or not.


I Wrote a Song

So, it’s been awhile. Like many during these past few months, my expectations regarding how productive I was going to be during lock-down has not matched reality. It’s been difficult trying to be creative at the same desk where I work remotely eight hours a day. Obviously I am grateful that I have a job that has allowed me to work from home over these last six months, and still be able to provide for my family.

However, I have not produced much of anything to share on this site.

Until now.

When I launched this site, I posted the lyrics to a parody version of “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” that I wrote a couple of years before. As of this post, that page has been visited 9 times, and I’m pretty sure that most of those views were from me, when I just wanted to remind myself of how clever (I think) I am.

Anyway, during this pandemic, I discovered a musician named Tom McGovern from a little song of his politely imploring others to wear a mask during these trying times. I reached out to him to see if he’d be willing to take my parody lyrics and record a version of the song. He graciously did just that and you can hear it here:

I updated the Jolly Old Saint Nick page to include a little more about how it all came to be.

But I have to say that while Mr. McGovern did all of the heavy lifting on the final product, this song ranks up there with my daughter and my book of things that I am proudest of being part of their creation. I love it that much. I hope you do, too.

Oh, and I did manage to post a story about a lunar event that happened during one of my high school basketball practices. You can read that one HERE.

You Is Smart

It might surprise you, but I don’t spend all day refreshing my book’s Amazon page to read all of the new reviews being posted there. Sure, that’s probably because for the longest time, it didn’t have any reviews, but I’m not that self-involved.

But I did stop by the page the other day, and noticed that someone had actually left a review. See it here in all its glory:

Seeing as you’re reading this blog post, I already know that you’re a smart person. You don’t need me defining words for you, but just in case…

That’s right. My book ain’t for no dummies.

(Honestly, I don’t know if that is true; I mean, one story contained within is about a dog that must sniff a certain butt before he can go to Heaven.)

Anyway, SR, I appreciate the review. And I do have some ideas for illustrating at least some of the stories.

But in the meantime, if you’ve read the book, why not head over to Amazon, and leave a review, letting everyone know how erudite you truly are.

Oh, I have also added a new Recollection. It is called The Christian Yost Detective Agency and it is about my summers growing up. Please go read it, but beware, it might not be for emetophobes. And you obviously know what that word means, because you is smart.

It’s Been Too Long, But This Post (Is About) Rocks

So it’s been awhile since my last blog post. Sorry about that. And it’s not like things as post-worthy as my continuing feud with Dionne Warwick haven’t been happening in my life. I just got away from posting regularly, and then got it in my head that the more time that passed since the last post, the bigger the new post would have to be to justify the wait…

So, I decided to return with not one, but TWO stories about rocks! Click HERE to read them. And if that wasn’t enough, in it, I am also very critical of a car commercial.

I’m back, baby!

I Really Started Something

I know it’s been too long since my last blog post. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything here on the site; I have posted 11 sandwich reviews that include our recent forays into the wonderful world of meat alternatives. Some have been decent and others have been veggie bacon.

But my main focus recently has been on trying to finish my book. And I can say that it is done. The final copies have been ordered and should be here in about a week. Once they get here, I can send the copies to those who pledged, and then tell everyone where they can get copies of their own. This will obviously necessitate a blog post or two, so stay tuned.

I will also be documenting my thoughts on crowdfunding and self-publishing. I just began working on this, but you will be able to find all of this right here.

Finally, I mentioned in my last blog post that I might publish a past writing assignment detailing the grudge that I’ve apparently had against Dionne Warwick since high school. With all of my attention on finishing All Beautiful Creatures*, I hadn’t given this other thing too much thought. That is until I woke up to the following Google alert a few days ago:

You’re right, Ms. Warwick. I Really Started Something. And here it is: the sophomore-year story that I wrote after my class studied Dante’s Inferno. We were told to write our own individual stories about who we would encounter in one of the levels of Hell.

Well, guess who I found in the Eighth Circle?

By Shady’s Bluff

The most popular pledge level of my Kickstarter includes a collection of my first animal stories. I knew most of them were on a flash drive, but I also knew that I had illustrated versions (made with free clip art) of some of them somewhere. I printed them out at some point and never saved a digital version of them, so this week I started going through all of my old stuff to find all of my stories.

In the process, I re-discovered a few things I had written of which I am still really proud, going all the way back to elementary school. Some of them I will add to what is being sent to those who pledged accordingly. Some I will include on this site. And with at least one of them, I will see if I can re-work it a little to see if it can be a children’s book.

One of the things I am ready to share here is a poem I wrote for an assignment during my senior year of high school. To be honest, I don’t remember what the assignment was, nor even writing the thing. It’s called By Shady’s Bluff, and I will say that I wrote the last stanza a few nights ago before posting it here. Everything else is as it was when I turned it in almost 19 years ago (and received a score of 122 (?) for it, along with a “Great!” from my teacher.)

Another writing assignment I might eventually include on this site is one revealing my apparent extreme dislike of Dionne Warwick (long before she disrespected Beyoncé.) Seriously, how many high school kids have extreme grudges against R&B singers 40+ years older than them? I was a weird kid.

All Beautiful Creatures* Update #2

As you can see, the project has hit its goal! Sure, the not-so-healthy, pessimistic part of me is still telling me that backers can cancel their pledges up until the end of the month, so I shouldn’t start celebrating just yet. But it was still a great moment when I checked my phone after a nap on Sunday to see an email informing me that the project had successfully reached its target.

It is fantastic to know that there are people out there who support me and (hopefully) like what I write. I had a few goals when starting this project, but the main one was to push myself to finish this book that I started back in 2005. I would work on stories on-and-off, but life happened and I’d go long periods without writing anything. Yes, I wanted to finish the stories and get the book out there, but I also apparently needed a little push to get it done. And I knew people trusting me with their money was what would be the thing to do it.

So, even though the project still has 12 more days until it can be officially successfully funded, I still want to say how immensely grateful I am to everyone who has pledged, who has trusted me, who pushed me to finish this book, so that people can physically (or digitally) have something that I created and love.

And then I can begin working on the next books, whose progress you will be able to follow on this site.

In other All Beautiful Creatures* news, a portion of Larry the Lyin’ Lion is now posted as the Story of the Week. This one is a little different in that it’s more than just a straightforward narrative; it’s a story told through limericks.

I cannot say that I much understand poetry without a designated rhyme scheme, but I love limericks. I’ve loved them since my dad’s dad, my Papa, introduced me to them tell as a (too-) young child. Sure, many of the ones he shared were inappropriate, but they also served to teach a young, impressionable boy about the type of abnormally-proportioned men one could encounter from a small Massachusetts island town. So basically, he was just fostering an interest in poetry, geography, and biology.

Give my poem a read and let me know what you think. And if you haven’t already, pledge to get yourself one of the first copies of All Beautiful Creatures*.

All Beautiful Creatures* Update #1

We’re a few days in and already more than a quarter of the way there.

For each week remaining on the project, I will post a portion of one of stories featured in All Beautiful Creatures* HERE.

The tentative schedule of stories is as follows:

May 3-9: Harry the Hyperactive Hamster
May 10-16: Kippy the Kleptomaniac Koala
May 17-23: Larry the Lyin’ Lion
May 24-30: Petey the Procrastinating Pig

If you haven’t pledged yet or if you want to follow its progress, you can find the project HERE.

Thank you for all of your support.

May Day Updates

Despite the fact that I launched my Kickstarter project last night, this is a post that is not about it. Except for this part: please go HERE to pledge your support. I’d truly appreciate it.

Mayday! Mayday! It’s May Day!
In honor of today being May 1st, I’ve posted a story about trying to celebrate May Day with a surprise for my first crush. Like with most of my stories, I had no idea what I was doing.

We got a little behind on our 77 Sandwiches posts, so here are the latest ones we’ve made and reviewed:

#30 – Pepperoni, Mozzarella, Marinara, and Meatballs on French Roll
#43 – Chicken, Melted Swiss, Ham, and Dijon on Ciabatta
#73 – Pickles, Peppers, Pepperoni, and Mozzarella on Ciabatta with Balsamic Oil and Vinegar