More Crappy Christmas Music!

I received a lot of feedback about Tuesday’s top 10 list of lame Christmas songs.  Apparently I had hit a lot of the crappy classics (“crappics”), but a couple readers threw in their two cents.  In fact, I had enough two cents to think I needed to follow up on my post (pretty much a dime if you add all the two cents up) – but I couldn’t have a TOP 5 list…that’s pretty lame.  And I couldn’t hate on enough other Christmas songs to create another full Top 10 list. So, being Sunday, I deemed it worthy of a NEW Bobbing for Popcorn feature that I could utilize in such cases as this – when you, my dear sweet little kernels (Lady Gaga has her “little monsters,” you guys are my “little kernels” – cuz of the popcorn thing…and I’m like the bowl…and you are unpopped and hurt people’s teeth…you know, never mind, this is stupid) have ideas of your own that you would like to add to my posts which…

*Ahem*

I WELCOME AND ENCOURAGE ALL THE TIME!!!

Please, please, please – like, share, comment, subscribe – on here, or Facebook, or Twitter, or the B4P email – GET INVOLVED AND SHARE THE POPCORNY GOODNESS!

But, without further ado, the first ever SUPPLEMENTAL SEVEN SUNDAY created by a combined effort of YOU and ME.

7.  Jingle Bells – Barbra Streisand

This might be the only Christmas song that would put you into an epileptic seizure.  Maybe it’s because she’s technically used to Hanukkah and Christmas was not in her upbringing but, Babs, calm the hell down.  The stores get their Christmas stuff out in October – we’ve got time.  Besides, it’s Jingle Bells.  Jingle freaking Bells.  The easiest and most common song in the Christmas cannon.  First graders are given this tune when their short-sighted music teachers give them each a recorder to bring home and practice – “Hot Cross Buns,” “Twinkle, Twinkle,” and “Jingle Bells.”  No need to reinvent the wheel here.

6. 12 Days of Christmas – every-freakin’-body

I’m talking about the original, but I’m posting the Straight No Chaser version for your enjoyment.  I love this version because it illustrates just how ridiculous the original song is.  What are these things?  Why is my true love buying me all this garbage?!  And PEOPLE?!!  Are we even allowed to buy people?!!  And you can count yourself among the very few if you can honestly remember all these lyrics without having to look them up.  I swear when they wrote this song, they had to fill a butt load of time at the end of a concert and decided to make one song and milk it for all it was worth.  Best stalling tactic song in history!  And it says something if a song has MULTIPLE parodies that are played during the holidays as much as the original!  If you can become a Christmas classic by making fun of ANOTHER Christmas classic, then that original definitely deserves to be on this list.  If you haven’t already, check out Bob Rivers’ “12 Pains of Christmas” and, of course, The Muppet cover of this tune.

5. Holiday Feeling – Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme

Though not as bad as “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” this dude is still pretty much only trying to “stuff the stocking,” if you know what I mean.  It’s also chockfull of lyrics that must have been put together by one of those Refrigerator Magnet Poetry sets.  “Look how the snow is snowing.”  Yup, what does snow do?  Snow snows.  Horses gallop, birds fly, and snow snows.  We will also turn mistletoe into a verb and decide we really want to use the word “party” and must logically work the word “smarty” into the lyrics later in this cavity-inducing, syrupy sweet attempt for a woman to feel the spirit of Christmas and her man’s desperate attempts to get said woman into bed.  Fa-la-la-la-la.

4. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano

Did you know that, to win a bet, Dr. Seuss wrote Green, Eggs, and Ham using only 50 words?  He repeated them over and over adding a new twist here and there to keep the story moving, but for the most part “I will not eat,” “Would you try them on/in/with a,” and “Green eggs and ham” were the central words in the text and he supplemented them with “goat” and “tree” and “train” and so on.  But the fact is, these “goats” and “trees” and “trains” kept the cannon words from getting stale.  Jose Feliciano, however, did not.  He used 20 words (21 if you count “Ahaaa!”).  No change, no supplements, just Spanish verse, English chorus, same Spanish verse, same English chorus, ad nauseum.  Aye carumba.

3.  Donde esta Santa Claus? – Augie Rios

I have nothing against Spanish music!  I swear!  But this song sucks!!!  Who is this kid calling “Mamacita,” first of all?  The literal translation is “little mama.”  So either his mother is an elf, he’s using a pet name for his girlfriend (who I hope is also 7 years old like this kid sounds), or he’s doing his best to be the Latino prepubescent Elvis.  Secondly, could we shove any more stereotypes in here?!  Castinets?  The reindeers named Poncho and Pedro?!!  The backup singers mimicking mariachi horns?!!!  And does he really say “I know that I should be the sleeping”?  THE sleeping?!!  You might as well leave rice and beans out instead of milk and cookies!!  This sounds like someone asked the Texas Border Militia to write this song!  Ay dios mio!

2. Snoopy’s Christmas – The Royal Guardsmen

What do you get when you mix a beloved cartoon, a World War I fighter pilot with 80 confirmed kills, and drinking?  A Christmas song!  This might be the only Christmas song to feature canon fire and machine guns.  Sure the war claimed between 15 and 18 million lives BUT Snoopy (who was about to get gunned down which would effectively make this the only Christmas song to have a beloved cartoon character die in combat set to the cheery upbeat sound of bells) luckily was shown mercy, landed his plane with his sworn enemy, boozed it up a bit, and then took off in the hopes of murdering each other once again in aerial combat.  Again I say, Fa-la-la-la-la.

1. We Wish You the Merriest – Les Brown

How this one escaped my first list, I have no idea.  I think I just scrubbed it so hard from my memory that it snuck through the cracks.  In any case, here it is; it would definitely vie for one of the top spots on the original list, and I have no words to describe the ear gouging horror that this song emanates on the airwaves.  This song is proof that even Satan celebrates Christmas and has enjoyed writing a carol or two that will torment his trapped souls in the most festive way possible.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” ~ Elf

Top Ten Unexpected Things That Make Your Day Epic

First of all – I’ve been pretty slovenly with my blog as of late – but no worries, I have no intention of stopping or even slowing down to just a weekly Top Ten list entry.  I’ve just had a bunch of real world, “adulting” issues taking up a bunch of my time – stupid responsibilities and stuff. Needless to say, when all of these everyday challenges pop up, it’s not uncommon to have “one of those days.”  You know, a typical Monday…all week long.  BUT that brings me to the topic of this week’s TOP TEN TUESDAY (segues are cool) – tiny, unexpected, mundane events that can make you give your day the Breakfast Club fist pump!

10.  Awesome Odors

So often your nose is assaulted with a double-barreled load of hot, nasty funk – garbage, moldy food, skunk spray, dirty diaper, kids (c’mon – I don’t care how much you love children, they smell).  But what about when your nostrils are hit with an unexpectedly awesome odor?  Maybe your neighbor just mowed the lawn.  Maybe a warm spring rain shower just ended (the fresh clean kind, not the dead worm kind).  How about a chicken barbecue pit sizzling away while you drive by with your windows down?  Or getting to work and finding out one of your coworkers made popcorn and DIDN’T burn it!  Sometimes all you need to bring a little smile to your face is to have a happy little sniff of something awesome.

9.  Stopping the Gas Pump on the Exact Dollar

This is more than just an epic moment – this is a freakin’ super power! Back when gas was down around the $1/gallon level, it was a pretty regular occurrence – but now that we’re floating around the $3 range – those pennies fly by at the speed of light!  If you can get that pump to stop with double zeros after the decimal point, you have accomplished a major feat!  Even if you stop short by a few cents and need to ka-chunk, ka-chunk the pump handle a couple times but still land on that coveted target, it’s still impressive.  Go ahead, spread your arms wide and let out a victorious “Booyah” on your way back to the driver seat – you’ve earned it.

8.  Hitting All Green Lights

If you’re like me, you don’t go many places out of the ordinary on a daily basis, so the mind just goes on autopilot.  Then, when you reach your destination, you look at the clock and see that you made really good time. How is that possible?  Then it dawns on you…all the lights were GREEN! You didn’t need to stop once!  This is so rare and so epic you actually share this accomplishment with anyone who will listen to you.  How often do traffic lights make their way into your conversations?  Hardly ever.  But when you make it through a dozen intersections without having to hit your breaks, it is just too awesome not to brag about a little.  Anyone who has had this experience, will share in your revelry and if they don’t, get new friends- these people don’t deserve your awesomeness.

7.  Laughing

Whether something unexpected makes you laugh or you are lucky enough to find yourself with someone who has a knack for making you laugh – it always makes the day better if you find yourself laughing until your sides ache and you’re wiping tears from your eyes.  It’s even a day brightener if you could make this amusing person laugh – or better yet, getting a notoriously stone-faced grump to crack a smile.  There’s just something about having a good laugh or causing a good laugh that will give you a little more oomph to get you through some of the less amusing parts of your day.  Plus, if it was a really good chuckle, it will creep back up on you throughout the day.

6.  Epic.  Road.  Tunes.

Awwwwwww yeeeeeeahhhhh!!!!  Your iTunes either has a good random shuffle or the radio station you’re listening to turns on that song.  You know that song.  All conversations in the car stop mid-sentence, the volume gets cranked, and the concert is about to begin.  We’re talking steering wheel drum solos, air guitars, belting out the lyrics at the top of your lungs EVEN if you don’t know them all AND you even sing out the instrumental parts!  We all have that song – Bohemian Rhapsody, Purple Rain, Rapper’s Delight, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)…don’t hate…you know you rocked that song AND Hit Me Baby One More Time back in the day.  You didn’t?!  Liar.

5.  Something Simple Made Perfectly

There is nothing extraordinary about a piece of toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.  Even a notorious java addict like me will admit 99 times out of 100, it’s just a cup of coffee.  But once in a while – you might not even know why – but something so ordinary just becomes mind-blowingly AMAZING!  You slip on the butter when you’re making the toast, your grilled cheese has those little burnt cheese bits around the edge, you just cleaned the coffee pot and ground fresh beans – SOMETHING happens and you find yourself thinking about that little, insignificant tasty treat for the rest of your day.

4.  Last Minute Cancellations of Unwanted Plans

You’ve had that dreaded meeting or obligatory dinner party appearance on your calendar for months.  The day arrives and you look at it and sigh – today is the day you are going to have to deal with it.  You muddle through your day hoping that for once the clock slows down and prolongs the inevitable.  Then it happens.  You get the message – it’s cancelled!  Not only do you get out of that unwanted event but you also find yourself with no plans to take its place!  You can get more things checked off your to-do list or go home early, slip on the grungy jammy pants and veg out to your favorite show on Netflix (bonus if they unexpectedly added new episodes – but let’s not get greedy).

3.  Random Compliments

Now, there is a limit here.  We’ve all had the sexual harassment trainings. Small compliments in passing are awesome.  If you are told you smell amazing and the person just keeps grinning at you, call the cops.  But if you’re just going about your daily routine and someone just offers you a little ego boost, it could really fuel the rest of your day.  They may say that they like your shirt or your hair or ask you if you’ve lost weight – but in your mind all you hear is:  You’re.  A.  Sexy.  Beast.  Go ahead, stop by the bathroom to give yourself a little wink and nod because, they’re right, you look fantastic.

2.  Finding Money

Whether it’s a penny in the parking lot or finding twenty bucks in the pocket of an old pair of your jeans – you get a boost!  Finding you overpaid a bill and now you have a credit on your account is like winning the lottery!  It’s weird, most of the time when you find money, or have an account credit, or get a nice tax return, you’re thrilled – but it’s all your money anyway!  But it was money you didn’t count on and that’s what makes it magical – extra money!  So, check the coin returns in the vending machines and pull off your couch cushions and see what treasures you can find.  It might just be a nickel and a stale, linty Cheeto, but it’s five cents you didn’t have a second ago…and, yeah, I won’t judge you if you eat the Cheeto.

1.  FREE FOOD!

There are very few bad days at work that can’t be turned into good days (or at least less awful) when you just add snacks!  It comes in all forms: someone brought in an office birthday cake, the person ahead of you in the drive-thru pays for your order, the vending machine drops two bags of chips.  But whatever the vehicle, nothing pumps you up on a mundane day like unexpected vittles that cost you nothing!  Even the pickiest eaters lower their standards when they are in the middle of a bad day and someone approaches them with a plate of free happiness – you can probably brighten a French chef’s bad day with a free McNugget!  I work in a school and we just got through our big state exams and some people came up with the awesome idea of giving us little “thank you” treats and you instantly had a bunch of grown adults huddled in the corner acting like Gollum petting and caressing a donut.  Oh yeah, the way to our hearts – and to an epic day – is definitely through our stomach.

I’d love to hear your additions to my list- comment away on what unexpected little thing makes your day an epic one!

let-it-go-goes-with-everything-video-ftr

“I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that.” ~ Gillian Anderson

The Blog Formerly Known as Bobbing for Popcorn

Man, 2016 has sucked for music!  David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, and now PRINCE?!!

Okay, Alan Rickman wasn’t a musician, but if you aren’t still mourning the loss of Severus Snape/Hans Gruber/Alexander Dane/The Metatron you are no longer ALLOWED to read my blog!  So GET OUT!

***Note: Please don’t get out, I was just being dramatic – I need you guys.  You’re the kernels that make up this popcorn bowl of love…too much?  Okay, back to the post then***

How can I even describe what music is to me?  It’s woven into everything! It’s my fuel!  I hardly ever sit down to write without my earbuds in or with the volume cranked for the whole family to listen.  My iTunes is packed with everything (except for the bulk of country music…I can’t do it…I’ve tried…) and as I’ve been researching and writing tonight’s post, my shuffle has taken me from the Eagles (*sigh* oh Glenn) to Ben E. King to Lady Gaga to Dean Martin to Eminem to John Legend to St. Paul and the Broken Bones.  If I ever experience writer’s block, I just stop trying to write and listen to music – sooner or later the right song will pop up and I’ll be back on track.  Sometimes I find one song that does the trick and I put it on repeat (I once listened to The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” for nearly six straight hours while I wrote a play).

My wife and I have raised our boys with a plethora of music – avoiding the mental vacuum of Top 40 pop radio.  Not that everything released nowadays is garbage…

***Note: I’m not that grumpy old guy who talks about how kids today don’t know music…except “Stitches,” that song is poop…and Nikki Minaj…any of her stuff…any of it…especially “Anaconda.”  Excuse me Ms. Minaj – the song was called “Baby Got Back” and is was pleasantly dirty enough without taking it to your level and giving us aural STDs***

…but there is no reason to forget the old just to keep up with the new. Trust me, I can listen to “Uptown Funk” all the live-long day (and I usually have to because it’s my toddler’s favorite song and he’s not big on “moderation”) but he also loves singing Bob Marley and listening to instrumental music by Danny Elfman and, yes, he has been known to wail the “sha-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-knees” part of “Welcome to the Jungle.”  My oldest has had those awkward moments at his lunch table surrounded by One Direction and Justin Bieber fans but chimes in with his fandom of The Rolling Stones and AC/DC (side note: so help me God, Axl Rose, you better not screw this band up, too).

More and more, listening to music is becoming bittersweet.  We’ve lost SO MANY amazingly talented individuals WAY before their time!  Besides the ones I mentioned above – we can never replace Michael Jackson or Freddy Mercury or Whitney Houston or Elvis or Janis Joplin.  Sooner or later, another great is added to “The Great Gig in the Sky.”

Except Keith Richards.

How the hell is Keith Richards still alive?!!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish any ill on the man, but damn dude, how many lives do you have?!!  The Nazi’s dropped a bomb in his crib during the London bombing in WWII – he lit his bed on fire in his sleep TWICE – he was electrocuted – he snorted strychnine and ended up catatonic – he fell out of a palm tree and needed brain surgery – and he quit doing drugs for a while, not because he was turning over a new leaf, because there was no longer a drug strong enough to have any effect on him at all!  He built up a tolerance to EVERYTHING and is just waiting until someone creates something more powerful so that he can willingly fall off the wagon!  THE DUDE SNORTED HIS FATHER’S ASHES!!!  Read that last sentence again and let that little conscience of yours scream it into your brain and may you realize that no matter what crazy-ass things you’ve done in your past you (hopefully) never snorted your parents’ remains…no, let’s make that ANY relative’s remains…nay, shall I be so bold as to say ANY remains of ANY deceased creature!  This guy is still rockin’ and rollin’ and Prince supposedly got taken out by the flu?!!  Scientists should quit studying sharks and reptiles for the keys to disease immunities and start tapping into Mr. Richards because that dude is friggin’ immortal!  When the end of the world comes all that will be left will be Keith Richards and cockroaches…until he snorts all the cockroaches.

Now, as David Bowie and Freddy Mercury’s timeless duet pops up on my iTunes (which is kinda freaky considering what I’ve been writing about – and NO I didn’t pick it), I encourage you to listen to your Prince tributes (check out his Superbowl halftime show and Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame performance with Tom Petty) – but don’t stick to just him, I mean even he covered other people’s stuff; your favorite musicians have their own favorite musicians, you know (Mind.  Blown.).  Put your playlists on shuffle and see what pops up.  Do some time traveling and find old favorite you’ve forgotten and download them.  Push yourselves out of your norms and find the new up-and-comers and show them some love (speaking of which, check out Brielle – good stuff).  And I can think of no better way to end this post than with:

“Music is music, ultimately.  If it makes you feel good, cool.” ~ Prince