December 22, 2013

“All I want for Christmas is…”


“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth,
My two front teeth, see my two front teeth.
Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth,
Then I could wish you ‘Merry Christmas.’”

      Donald Gardner (1913-2004)
       American music teacher and songwriter
       The chorus of his song
“All I Want for Christmas (Is My Two Front Teeth)” 
Gardner wrote the song in 1944, when he was a music teacher at the Smithtown, New York, elementary school. It was first recorded and made famous by Spike Jones and His City Slickers in 1948. There are two similar but slightly different stories about the origin of the song. One story quotes Gardner as saying he heard some kids telling their teacher what they wanted for Christmas that year and noticed they “were all using the same phrase, ‘All I want for Christmas.’” Then, recalled Gardner, “the teacher said something funny and they all laughed, and I noticed that 16 of the 22 in the class were missing their front teeth.” According to another version, Gardner had asked the class of 22 second grade students to help him create a Christmas song by telling him how they would complete the sentence, “All I want for Christmas is...” As they answered, he noticed that 16 of them had noticeable lisps due to missing front teeth.
       After Gardner wrote the song, his students performed it at the school’s annual Christmas pageant. A local woman who worked for the Witmark music publishing company heard it and told her boss. He liked the song and Witmark published sheet music for it, but it wasn’t recorded until 1948. That year, it was recorded for the first time by Spike Jones and his group, with band member
George Rock singing it in a falsetto child’s voice with a whistling lisp. Their recording was released on December 6, 1948 and soon hit #1 on several Billboard music charts. It went on to become a modern Christmas classic.


“All I want for Christmas, Mariah, is you to stop performing for dictators.”
Alexandra Petri   
       Writer of the satirical ComPost blog on the Washington Post site 
       Petri used the line above (a takeoff on Carey's popular Christmas song “All I want for Christmas is You”) in the headline of a post about critics of the singer’s apparent willingness to perform paid gigs for dictators.
As Petri noted, Carey did a paid performance for Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi Gaddafi in 2011, for a fee of $1 million. Recently, for another million dollar fee, Carey performed at an event in Angola that was attended by Jose Eduardo dos Santos, another controversial authoritarian who has held the reins in that country for 33 years.
       (At left, Mariah Carey poses with Angolan dictator Jose Eduardo dos Santos.)


“Of my choices for St. Nick
Seinfeld, Zach Braff and Jon Stewart
Are the boys with a big schtick.
‘Cause I just want them here tonight
Holding on to me so tight
I’ll take Zac Efron too
All I want for Christmas is Jews.”

HOT BOX comedy troupe’s parody song “All I Want For Christmas is...Jews”


“All I want for Christmas is an AR-15 with an attached grenade launcher...huh? Wait a sec, that’s not how the song goes! Or is it?…At the Scottsdale Gun Club in Arizona, kids (and adults) can get their pictures snapped with Santa and an automatic weapon of their choice – or several automatic weapons of their choice. So much for a Silent Night.”
Jacqueline Burt
       American magazine writer, book author and blogger
In a post in her column on The Stir website


“All I want for Christmas is for naked pictures of Shaun White to stay unpurchased and unpublished.”
Richard Langford
       Columnist for the Bleacher Report website
       His comment
in an article about TMZ’s revelation that X-rated photos of professional snowboarder and skateboarder White having sex with a female fan were being shopped around to the highest bidder

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Everything Else from!

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December 11, 2013

About God’s mysterious way(s)…


“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”

William Cowper (1731-1800)
       British poet and hymn writer
       From his Hymn No. 35,
“Light Shining Out of Darkness” 
       These are the opening lyrics of the hymn, which was first published in Olney Hymns (1779). The first two lines are usually misquoted as “God moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform” and often
wrongly assumed to be a Bible quote.


“God does not work in mysterious ways — it’s blindingly obvious when he’s dropping you a big hint.”
       A comment I read in 2010 on a now-vanished blog
       At the time, it stuck me as something that could be applied to the Gulf Oil Spill, which had recently occurred (and which still may be doing mysterious things to the ecosystem of the Gulf of Mexico).


“God works in mysterious ways. But at least he works. He’s never on welfare in mysterious ways.”

Stephen Colbert
       One of his straight-faced faux Conservative quips on the June 23, 2010 episode of
The Colbert Report


“There are no atheists in a foxhole, and there are, apparently, no atheists in the Ku Klux Klan. God sometimes moves in mysterious ways, His lip service to exact.”  
       Attributed to
Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983)
       American author and journalist


“I have yet to see a good answer for why God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good – or even anything close to all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good – and still isn’t perceived by everybody. Does anybody have one? (And if you say ‘Mysterious ways,’ I’m going to scream.)”  
Greta Christina 
       Atheist blogger and author
       In a
post she wrote for AlterNet

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December 2, 2013

As American as apple pie, cherry pie – and marijuana...


“Violence…is as American as cherry pie.”
H. Rap Brown (a.k.a. Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin)
       A prominent black civil rights activist in the 1960s, currently in prison for killing African-American police officer Ricky Kinchen.
       In the 1800s, American-style apple pies became known for their special sweetness and flavor and the term “American apple pie” was used to distinguish them from apple pies made in other countries. The phrase “as American as apple pie” dates back to at least 1920. By the 1940s, it was a common idiomatic expression.
       The most famous — and infamous — variation of that expression was created by H. Rap Brown in a press conference he gave on July 27, 1967. Brown told reporters:
       “I say violence is necessary. Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie.”
       It’s not clear why he chose cherry pie instead of apple pie. But in his controversial 1969 autobiography Die Nigger Die!, Brown helped popularize his version of the expression by using it in the pithier form that’s usually cited: “Violence is as American as cherry pie.”  
Read more about this quotation on my site)


“We live in a culture where bullying is as American as apple pie.”
Tom Reilly 
       Columnist for the
Millbury-Sutton Chronicle (Millbury, Massachusetts)
an opinion piece published on November 27, 2013
       (The cartoon lampooning Miami Dolphins football bully
Richie Incognito was done by Nate Beeler, cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch.)


“Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.”
Mike Royko (1932-1997)
       Legendary Chicago sportswriter
       One of his
most widely-cited zingers (though I couldn’t find a specific date or source for when he said it)


“Today, deep-fried food is almost as American as apple pie—which, incidentally, can be dunked into a vat of oil and emerge with a greasy, crunchy coating, along with almost any kind of food.”
Marina Koren
       Staff correspondent at the National Journal
       In her November 27, 2013 column
on the National Journal website 
       (Cartoon by James Cahill
via the DeviantArt website.)


“SAMHSA [The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] research determined more than 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana...Marijuana is as American as apple pie - and healthier.”
William Breathes
       Writer for the Denver Westworld News
the November 14, 2013 edition of his "Dear Stoner" column

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