Secrets of the Advent-Christmas posts

Not that Nancy Wilson

Secrets of the Advent-Christmas

We are now about to reveal the secrets of the Advent/Christmas posts for 2022. 

Most of them I put together in late August and early September when I was recovering from COVID because I couldn’t focus on anything else.

I took this list of songs and flung them into different piles. These are songs people hate, and those are the ones that are overplayed. Of course, I always have to find a STAX Christmas list.

Do I want a Motown list? I started one and then abandoned it. Nah, they don’t move me as much. And my favorite, What Christmas Means To Me by Stevie Wonder, was on a post from 2018, which I decided to link to in its entirety. I loved those Nowell We Sing Clear tracks that kick off that piece. All of the links to that post still worked as of September 1, 2022, except one, which I switched out.

The remaining rosters I wanted to share closer to, or on, the actual holiday. Thus the songs on this list are the tunes that didn’t fit in any other pile.


Merry Xmas (War Is Over) – John and Yoko and The Harlem Community Choir. This song always saddens me, as it’s always played in the same month as John’s death on December 8, 1980. 

Mary’s Boy Child · Harry Belafonte. I’ve noted that my father’s musical stylings were clearly influenced somewhat by Harry.

Louisiana Christmas Day – Aaron Neville. This is such a fun song.

The Christmas Waltz -Nancy Wilson. This is the jazz singer, not a member of Heart. I first heard of her because her albums would be pictured on the inner sleeves of my Beatles and Beach Boys albums on Capitol Records.

Carolina Christmas – Squirrel Nut Zippers. My parents moved to NC in 1974 with my baby sister. My sister’s still living there.

Christmastime Is Here – Vince Guaraldi Trio. Why do I find the vocals of this so affecting?

Merry Christmas, Baby – Charles Brown. A great vocalist I didn’t know until I was an adult.

2000 Miles – Pretenders. The first this I heard this, I didn’t listen fully. It’s very touching.

Little Drummer Boy (African Tribal Version) – Alex Boye’ ft. Genesis Choir. This is also touching, and the family’s situation is quite believable these days.

Hamildolph! (An American Christmas Story) – Eclipse 6. A Hamilton parody, 100% a cappella.

You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch. “Written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The lyrics were written by Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel, the music was composed by Albert Hague, and the song was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft.”

Check out Kelly’s Daily DoseDaily Dose of Christmas

I know all your secrets, through gmail

How does one even operate with so many emails unread?

This happened AGAIN when I went to use the computers at one of the branches of the Albany Public Library in May 2017. I went to gmail, and I got the message that it had “closed unexpectedly”, undoubtedly because the hour allotment of the previous user had expired. Did I want to “restore”? OK, let’s do that.

There was the gmail of a total stranger, totally accessible to me. At the end of each day, APL scrubs the records, but not always from user to user on the same day. I’ve gotten into people’s Facebook that way on public computers, and not just on APL’s, which is why, when I get that five-minute warning, I close down gmail and Facebook, then other items I might have open.

Per usual, I wrote her an email from “herself” explaining how and where I got into her system. I did not specifically explain that, had I been less of a swell guy, I could a wreaked real havoc in her life, trusting that she has figured this out.

So what did I learn from this woman? I never went past the first page, but I assume she’s looking for a job. But this really boggled my mind: she had about 9,300 emails, and around 8,500 of them were UNOPENED. How does one even operate with so many emails unread? She might have missed an employment opportunity, or six.

Now I’ve had even more emails than this woman, even a month ago, but I purged over 6000 of them in fairly short order, and they were all read. Some were things I was going to blog about – random ideas, news stories – but they got too old. Others were reminders of events to come that have since passed. And a lot were links to Facebook conversations – which I can never find by merely searching – that I decided just weren’t all that interesting, in retrospect.

Based on a blogpost I wrote a few years ago, the co-author of the Public Wi-Fi: How to Stay Safe and Secure Your Data infographic recommended it to me, and I do the same for you.

Revealing deep dark secrets

Blogging has set ME free too.

Amy, who wields that Sharp Little Pencil wrote:

If you were a tree… oh, never mind.

I’ll tell you anyway. It’s a chestnut tree. In my neighborhood, I remember collecting horse chestnuts, which were inedible, because they were a pretty dark brown, and so smooth. I’d collect them for a while, and then dump them to pick new ones in the new season.

How about this: If you had one of those “shameful secrets,” would you speak out about it?

I only wonder because I write a lot about being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (usually most women’s “secret” and a shame that can grow like a pustule in your gut) and my past drug use and my mental illness all the time. I get notes from folks saying, “I can’t believe you said that.” And yet, it gives me back my own power. I live life on my own terms and write what I want.

It’s difficult to say in the abstract. I wasn’t sexually abused. I tried cocaine once and didn’t like it; think of the scene in Annie Hall. Even marijuana, which was readily available in the 1970s, was something I could take or leave.

If I were to have become addicted to anything, it would have been pharmaceuticals. My father once gave me one of his sleeping pills, and it felt SO good, it scared me. I tend to avoid them for that very reason.

I’ve told you about getting arrested and being briefly married 40 years ago. I’ve shared more about my parents because they’re both deceased. Haven’t told some other details about my life because it involves other people who are still alive. (My college ex-wife is still alive, too, but I figure the statute of limitations has run out.)

I WILL say that getting older has been rather liberating in this area. It’s a combination of the passage of time since some events, and my understanding of my mortality, which has generated a degree of freedom.

Blogging – and therapy – have set me free. Love your blog, Rog, and you are wonderful. Amy

Blogging has set ME free too. Love your blog, Amy, and you’re wonderful as well.
More Chris:

If you were a character in a book or a comic, what would your standard or symbol be?

A green peace symbol, maybe with some prongs at the end like a trident. Peaceful, but I have my limits.

I’ll ask this one like I asked Jaquandor: Have you ever fantasized about being a female character in a novel or a story?

Yes, and she really kicked butt.

Actually, any number of characters run through my brain. None of them are coherent enough to write down.

A little bit more specific question than “ask about racism”: have you mentioned the Cinna/ Hunger Games thing [to the Daughter]? She’s the right age for Hunger Games and I can say for me that struck me as a huge example of “Wow, racism has gotten complicated but is still lurking around behind people’s eyes.”

I haven’t watched/read Hunger Games. My sense, though, is that it’s too intense for her. There have been other things that were age-appropriate but just terrified her.

To the specific question: I’ve seldom worried what the fanboy/fangirl base says about anything. (I used to sell comic books.) That said, I’ve long favored unexpected casting. If I were enough of a fan, I’d be watching that show Elementary with Lucy Lui, an Asian woman, as Dr. Watson to Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes.

No, I won’t blog about THAT

if you choose not to participate, YOU ARE NOT HURTING MY FEELINGS. REALLY.


Almost everyone I know is aware of the fact that I blog. This doesn’t mean everyone READS my blogs, only the fact that they’re aware of them, or at least one of them. The local folk knows because my Times Union blog gets excerpted in the print “Best of the Blogs” section of the newspaper. It happened at least thrice in April.There is this situation that involves someone, not in my family, that is pretty dire; can’t tell you more than that. And when I had to blow off choir rehearsal one night because of said situation, someone said, “Well, I guess you can blog about it.” And the thing is: no, I can’t.

I think the problem is that because I’ll blog about EVERYTHING, topicwise, if it interests me, the thought is that I’ll blog about ANYTHING. And I guess I got a little irritable about that, I suppose.

But then again, it’s a great cover. If they think your life is an open book, they won’t snoop for secrets they are convinced don’t exist.
Incidentally, recently I accidentally invited a whole bunch of people in one of my electronic address books to join LinkedIn – sorry about that – and a few people took me up on it. I expected a couple of people to be irritated, but no; they were apologetic that they just don’t do that online thing, that they’re just not working anymore so they don’t need to, or that they have no idea what LinkedIn is.

Let me say this about anything you might get from me from LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever; if you choose not to participate, YOU ARE NOT HURTING MY FEELINGS. REALLY. I’m on Facebook and I ignore stuff, or delete it as unread, all of the time, just as I do with certain e-mail. Especially Farmville-type stuff, which I have actually figured out how to block. Nothing personal, I’m just not interested. Whatever I send to you, intentionally, or possibly by accident, please ignore if it doesn’t suit you.


Picture from Flickr

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