Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's Pronounced "DRAY-dul"

It's Christmas morn. Since I don't have to rush to see what's under the tree, (that would require a tree), I thought I would take a minute to share the most absurd discovery of this holiday week -- because I don't know how long it will last -- and if you can, you should discover it as well.

Jews are kind of left out on the 25 of December. We might celebrate with friends, or try to recreate the holiday, in a bastardized form (a Hannukah bush never had the same magic) and my mother would have burnt the bush, and probably the house down with a Hannukah candle, if we ever set one up.) I'm not denying that I love the whole Christmas spirit thing -- lights, decorations, Santa, the Salvation Army, ringing those bells on street corners and in front of the market (food not stock).

But we have a wonderful holiday to celebrate, often at the same time. The Miracle of the Lights... Hannukah. When we were kids, my cousin Stevie and I would light a candle each night and then receive a small gift. Some were memorable. Like once we got our cousins’ used Schwinn bikes, and one year we got Winky Dink screens and since we only had a 14" screen, we would fight over who got to use their screen. (The fight ended when I screamed, "Uncle Phil, he hit me," and Stevie was dragged off to his room for some medieval torture).

Anyway, I'm getting way off track. Except some Jew who also felt denied, created the Hannukah channel, #68 on your XM or Sirius satellite radio. When the words Hannukah appeared as I was flipping through the stations, I was surprised and yes, delighted. A holiday station without "Oh Holy Night"' or “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" or my new favorite, "Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer" - which David has on a hat with moving, lighting up, sing-along antlers.

Still off track, allow me to share some of the songs that have become favorites, which I have never heard before and, I assume, I will not hear again until next year. On the top of the list is a ballad entitled, "I'm Just a Latke (potato pancake) Waiting for Hannukah." [ see here... ]This is a serious outcry, from a latke, who is lonely without someone who will enjoy his crispy flavor. Trust me, this is for real. My next favorite was Ma Atsur (The Jewish Rock of Ages), sung as a Rock-A-Billy tune. ( Rock-a-Billy is even more distasteful than the Blues, and I hate the Blues). And what do you know, " Eight Days of Hannukah" sung with a Bluesy tune. There were lots which were sung to the tunes of famous Christmas Carols, old Rock songs, and children's music. (Why can't people be original if they are trying to do something different?) But wait, there were some imaginative, original songs. One, and I apologize for not remembering the actual name, was an upbeat ditty which decried the use of anything fake, or fat free, in a kugel (noodle pudding). And while I agree with the sentiments (having once made a fat-free sweet kugel), the sentiments clearly did not necessitate a song... Where the rhymes are stretched well beyond acceptable rhymability.

Sure, there are a great many old favorites sung in Yiddish, Hebrew, and English, but they are well disguised as tunes which are better off not being aired in public. The whole concept of a Hannukah Channel is hilarious. The Jews are unprepared for music to express the power of the holiday, and some of us are not prepared to listen. Years and years ago we found a charming Hannukah cassette tape (that pretty much means the early 80s). It was music to celebrate, music you could dance, sing to, and even enhance the celebration with a variety of kid like musical instruments. If I were doing the programming for XM68, I would play a few ridiculous songs, and then I would play this music 24/7, and just go with what works for the spirit of this special holiday. I bet Christ probably lit a few candles in his time.... Or was that too early in the Hannukah timeline? Anyway, let's celebrate whatever holiday happens to be ours, and wish for Peace, Love and the retention of our rapidly eroding First Amendment rights... We’re just sayin.... Iris

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