04 December 2006

sounds of Yule

Yesterday's prompt regarded a preference between snow or sun; but, as is my way, I flaked and forgot to address it at all. I was reflecting on that choice this morning, making my way carefully from my doorstep to the T stop through the would-be snow. I say would-be, because it was not quite frozen, more like sleet really.

Given the choice between snow and sleet, I'll take snow by the feet. But sun or snow? I see no reason why one shouldn't have both, snow on the ground and sun in the sky. Really, it's best if the snow comes during the night or early in the morning and allows the sun to have its time throughout the day. That would be my preference for holiday weather.

I'm also still callous enough to think that ice storms are pretty--callous because I know what kind of damage ice will do to powerlines, tree branches, and life as we know it, and yet I still like it. One of my favorite memories of winter in Pennsylvania included ice storms--snow trapped beneath a thick sheet of ice and dozens or hundreds of leafless trees encrusted in glistening ice, glimmering in the sunshine. It's something truly spectacular to see; and while I know it was killing life and breaking weaker branches, I can't help but remember that vision fondly.


On the subject of holiday music, if I'm hearing it before December (or, at least before Thanksgiving has come to a close) it might make my ears bleed. But as December wears on, and as the weather becomes more appropriate--like today's wintry mix, for example--I look forward to the classics. And some not-so-classic classics as well.

As a child of the 80s, I was brought up on television- and pop-culture-based holiday records. Sesame Street. Muppets. Star Wars. Cabbage Patch Kids. Rainbow Brite. They all had holiday records and my parents were indulgent. What does Rainbow Brite have to do with Christmas? Nothing. It had a Christmas record for the same reason the others did: because that decade was a time of shameless consumerism. We have action figures, dolls, movies, television series, clothing, bed linens, breakfast cereals--what else can we feed these little imbeciles to make us rich? The answer is holiday albums, of course.

So I will probably listen to those, as I have for the past two decades-plus of my life, along with some Rankin & Bass and Peanuts downloads. I also have the Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Elvis mainstays. Choir music, of course. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Then, there are there are the stranger choices on my iPod--Bad Religion's rendition of "Silent Night." The Vandals' "Oi To The World." And South Park's "Merry Fucking Christmas" and Cartman singing "O Holy Night" while getting poked by a cattle prod.

Don't get me wrong. If I had to listen to this music any other time of the year, I would probably stab somebody.

But 'tis the season.

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