Monthly Archives: December 2009

Another Christmas Play List

baublesConfession: something even those of you who know me well may not know is that I dearly and deeply love Christmas music. I start listening to it the day after Thanksgiving (actually after dinner most years) and keep it up right through twelfth night (or el noche de los tres reyes if you prefer). This is something of an inherited disorder — my parents are into holiday music of all sorts and own every Christmas song Nat King Cole (a family Christmas god) ever sang. My grandmother would bribe me to learn Christmas songs to plink out on the piano for her. I have a terrible singing voice, but nonetheless, always sang along.

As is our custom every some years, Paul and I put together a playlist of Christmas / Holiday / Seasonal / Whatever-you-prefer-to-call-it with which we’ll torment gift our family and some friends. I’d probably send them to more people were Paul not around to remind me that not everyone is into Christmas music.

1. Another Christmas Song / Stephen Colbert
2. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas / Perry Como
3. Baby, It’s Cold Outside / Willie Nelson & Norah Jones
4. I’d Like You For Christmas / Julie London
5. Must Be Santa / Bob Dylan
6. December Will Be Magic Again / Kate Bush
7. Blue Christmas / Dean Martin
8. Mele Kalikimaka / Bette Midler
9. Away In A Manger / Los Lonely Boys
10.Twelve Days Of Christmas / John Denver & The Muppets
11.Can I Interest You In Hannukah? / Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart
12. White Wine In the Sun / Tim Minchin
13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas / Aimee Mann
14. Stop the Cavalry / Jona Lewie
15. Winter Wonderland / Doris Day
16. Caroling, Caroling / Nat King Cole
17. Jingle Bell Rock / Neil Diamond
18. Another Christmas Song / Jethro Tull
19. We Wish You A Merry Christmas / John Denver and The Muppets
20. All You Need Is Love / The Beatles

Past years have been more heavily weighted toward traditional carols. This year we have fewer of those, only one actually, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Los Lonely Boys. What we have instead are some fun and (I think) beautiful finds. The most lovely of them is one Paul added called “White Wine in the Sun” by comedian Tim Minchin. I think one of the reasons I find it so moving is the idea of Christmas being a holiday spent sitting outside on a patio in the sunshine with my family– being a native Californian, snow at Christmas seems deeply exotic. In any case, listen for yourself and see what you think.

I’ve tweeted about this already, but this year Bob Dylan brought out a Christmas album to raise money to fight hunger and homelessness at home and abroad. Bob Dylan, singing traditional Christmas songs — sounds like a joke, right? I bought the album partly because the reviews were polarized (I’m always curious when that happens), partly because the concept sounded funny, and because the money was for a good cause. The joke was on me. Since it arrived I’ve probably listened to it all the way through at least six times. The contrast between the very traditional arrangements of Christmas classics and Dylan’s broken voice (not he ever sang like Nat King Cole) makes me want to sing too.

So now that I’ve shown you mine (so to speak), what’s your favorite holiday song? Assuming you like the music at all.

Party on! (But watch your drink.)

cocktail As the holiday season moves into full swing, I was sad but not surprised to read on Minx and Zille’s blogs about two different cases of drink doping at scene parties and events, each on opposite sides of the country.  Zille fortunately had a helpful and supportive experience when she reported her suspicions to the event organizer. Minx, sadly did not have this experience but was, instead doubted and pressured to keep quiet.  I know it can’t have been easy to stand up and talk about what happened. No one wants to believe this goes on, especially in our nice little closed circles.  But it does and more often than should be comfortable for anyone.

As someone who worked in a university residence hall for a number of years and on a university campus for many more than that, I know how wide-spread drink doping is. Of the 10 to 15 times I took students have their blood and urine tested following a suspected doping, drugs the students had no memory of taking were found in all but one case (generally the drugs were ambien, xanax or valium rather than the rarer date rape drug “rohypnol”). Even more common is the spiking of low alcohol or non-alcoholic beverages with 100+ proof white alcohol — something that’s gone on since my mother was in college. (That happened to me years ago — though I fortunately noticed due to the oddly chemical taste.) It’s sad to say this, but communal drinks just aren’t safe and probably haven’t been for a while.  Sadder still is our not being able to leave drinks even for a moment, even at private functions.

I’d like to think that the group sponsoring Minx’s event is just unaware of how widespread this problem is and that her blog entry will prompt others who’ve experienced this to come forward and help all of us who haven’t experienced this to be more aware. Rohypnol and other benzodiazepines (used in the rarest but most dangerous sorts of doping) are found more and more frequently on university campuses along with other legal and illegal drugs. I assume this means they’re also becoming more widely used in the general population.

It’s not that there’s a lot of people who dope drinks out there, but the ones that do are good at it and rely on ignorance on the part of their victims (and hosts). What we hear about most in the press are the very worst of the worst — those who dope drinks in order to rape. But there are those who do so, as Zille points out, in the mistaken belief they’re sharing, loosening up the party or helping guests have a better time.  So anyone who might be tempted to do “share” in this fashion, can I remind you that there are those of us who have to watch how much we drink because of other medications?  Personally, I can’t have more than one drink when I’m on lithium without running the risk of becoming very ill.

Anyway, this ended up longer than I intended.  My point is, have fun but watch your drinks.

Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0