Friday, November 28, 2008

The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time (2008 Edition--Part I)

It’s that time of year. Black Friday is officially over, and one local radio station, K103.3, has been playing holiday music since Halloween. Now, I LOVE the holidays. I am a big fan of the holiday season and all of the good that it can bring out in people. I also LOVE holiday music. I can’t get enough of it. I own many, many Christmas music CDs and I enjoy listening to them. However, whenever there is a lot of good, there also seems to be a lot of bad, and as I have been enjoying holiday music over the airwaves of K103, I have also had moments of absolute cringing. There is some crappy holiday music out there. Many people have already been privy to my rant regarding the horridness that is “Christmas in the Northwest.” I have hated that song for as long as I can remember. We’re talking probably since elementary school I have detested that song. In addition to “Christmas in the Northwest” and all of it’s God’s gift wrapped in green nonsense, there are also some equally inane holiday songs. I wish to share my own list with you. For as many songs as I could, I’ve included links, so you can really appreciate how nauseating some of these songs can be.

There are a few categories that I have created in my head, so for the sake of some organization to this list of auditory slights to humanity, I’m sorting the songs accordingly.

Songs that aren’t really Christmas or Holiday songs, yet they are played only during the Christmas season.

10. “My Favorite Things” Rod Stewart

I have yet to figure out how the musical The Sound of Music and the von Trapp family’s escape from Nazi Germany has anything to do with Christmas. I have to admit I’ve only seen it a couple of times, and that was several years ago, but still. The song does mention some holiday-ish kinds of favorite things like snowflakes on eyelashes and presents wrapped up with string, but that’s about it. There is nothing Christmasy about whiskers on kittens or bright copper kettles. Also consider that raindrops on roses and getting stung by a bee are least likely to happen during the holiday season. While I do really like this song, IT IS NOT A CHRISTMAS SONG, and thus should not be a part of the holiday music selection. ESPECIALLY, if it is Rod Stewart singing. I’ll will take Julie Andrews any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Even aging, I-can’t-sing-like-I-used-to Julie Andrews. But Rod Stewart? Seriously? Have you seen Rod Stewart? He is creepy at best. His particular version of the song (which is truly a good song!) is absolutely terrible. It includes the one, two horrid combination of cheesy saxophone music and well, Rod Stewart. I am a saxophone player. I do love a good saxophone included in a song. However, good is the key word here. Saxophone closing out the song a la Family Ties’ “sha-na-na-na” does not equate good in any way, shape, or form. Rod Stewart singing anything always has the unfortunate consequence of bringing back memories of his “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” which I have tried to delete from my brain rather unsuccessfully. No, Rod, no one thinks you’re sexy, and no one wants your body, so let it go already, okay? Shudder.

9. “Linus and Lucy” Vince Guaraldi Trio
Thank the person with some extra freetime who put this on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbiYFA0-8mU

The Vince Guaraldi Trio (www.vinceguaraldi.com) is an amazing group, and it’s really too bad that we don’t hear them year round. However, they are pretty much only known for their work on the Peanuts movies including A Charlie Brown Christmas. They have an expanded album which includes the music from the Christmas movie along with some additional Christmas music such as O Tannenbaum and Hark, the Herald Angels Sing. I love hearing their holiday music played, however, I can’t figure out how “Linus and Lucy” qualifies as a Christmas song. Oh, wait…that’s because it doesn’t. Again, I love this song. This is the kind of song that would justify years of piano lessons as a child just to be able to play this song. Still doesn’t make it a holiday song.

8. “Same Old Lang Syne” Dan Fogelberg
Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhjYbfK9vrk

Okay, technically the events occurring during the narration occur on Christmas Eve. It could be a Christmas song…if it had anything to do with holiday kinds of things, but it is just a hokey song about regrets, lost love, blah, blah, blah. I like to call this song, “Getting drunk in a car with my Ex” because that’s more accurate. Apparently the open container law doesn't apply as long as you’re drinking toasts to things like innocence, time, now, and that kind of stuff. It also loses points big time for cheesy saxophone ending. Darn you Kenny G for making people think saxophones should be utilized in such a terrible way! Though you do really have to appreciate the intensity with which Dan Fogelbery sings this song. It’s almost like the more expressive his eyebrows are and the more he wiggles his face, the better he thinks the song will sound. I also can't believe that many people paid money to see Dan Fogelberg. Look how many people are in the audience! And yes, I know Dan Fogelberg is dead, and that it is impolite to mock the dead, but watch the video. It deserves mocking.

Stay tuned for Part II of The Worst Christmas and Holiday Songs of All Time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Something Spelled Backwards is NOT a Name

They have yet to enter high school, so I haven’t had a student with one of the most disturbing “trendy” names in rotation today. According to my connections at the elementary school level, there are hordes of young girls saddled with the heinous moniker, Nevaeh. I know what you’re thinking. It must be a name with some kind of cultural origin. Wrong. Take your computer into the bathroom. Hopefully, it’s a laptop, or else it might be a little awkward. Now read your screen in the mirror. Here, I’ll help make it easier: NEVAEH. That’s right. Heaven spelled backwards.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of names that are in reality abstract nouns. Grace, Joy, Hope, Chastity (look for this name later on the “So you want your daughter to be a prostitute?” entry), Faith, Patience, you get the picture. The problem with these kinds of names is two-fold. One, sure they are great qualities that you might want your child to have, but in reality it makes for a terrible name. Two, if you name your child one of these names, there is a 85% chance that your child will exhibit the exact opposite behaviors, traits, and demeanor of the meaning of the name. For example, if you name your daughter Grace, she will most likely be one of the clumsiest kids in her pre-school. Name your daughter Patience, and she will be arrested for road rage at the tender age of 23. Hope? Hope you don’t mind the fact that your daughter will be married and divorced between 5 and 8 times, bear at least half a dozen children and live out her life in Space 17 in the local trailer park. Chastity? Well, you’re just going to have to wait for that other blog entry.

Those are bad enough on their own, but what the hell is up with the spell something backwards aspect of this disaster name Nevaeh? It makes me a little curious about what freaking moron decided that a word, any word, spelled backwards would make a good name for their child. And who are these legions of idiots who see Nevaeh on the baby name website of choice and think to themselves, oh, that’s a precious name for my precious little girl? It also makes me want to call up CPS and report some serious child neglect. As in how can you so greatly and horrifically neglect the well-being of your child by naming them something so stupid. I can’t wait for this generation of Nevaehs to grow up and tell their parents how their name ruined their lives.

Let me put this in perspective. Have you ever seen a movie so horribly, horribly terrible, that it’s painful to watch? Not a bad movie that is a little fun to watch because it’s cheesy, has hokey special effects, questionable acting and unrealistic dialogue. I love those kinds of movies. In fact, I highly recommend any movie with Vincent Price circa 1960s-1970s. I like my special effects with the wires showing. No, I mean a truly terrible movie. The kind where you lament never getting back the two hours of your life you just wasted watching the movie. Something like The Intersection staring Richard Gere. Or anything that has Jennifer Lopez anywhere near it. The kind of movie where you wonder whether a lifetime of blindness would be worth taking a ballpoint pen and stabbing out your own eyes just so you don’t have to see another frame of the awfulness on the screen. Nevaeh is that kind of name.

Baby Naming Tip #2:

Don’t name your child ANYTHING spelled backwards. I promise you, while you think it is “unique” or “precious,” your kid will disagree with you beginning around age 12. The good news for them is that they will be able to answer a variety of inquiries from teachers, new friends, and clerks at the grocery store with one catch-all answer: “My parents were idiots.”

While talking with a couple of my colleagues, one suggested a name. Lived. Wait, it needs an accent. Liv├ęd. That’s better. I think I will suggest it on some of the baby naming websites, sit back, and watch the papers for the next generation of backwards word names.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spell It Like Everyone Else

Let's start simple. I have a feeling society is going to provide a lot (A LOT) of fodder for this bad boy, so I'm going to start close to home. Now my first name is Jennifer. Decent? Yes. Options for nicknames? Obviously. In my brief 29 years, I have been Jennifer (on all of those officially document kind of things), Jenny (from birth to 8), Jen (8 to now), and even J.J. I admit it, my parents did join the legions of other parents who named their kid Jennifer. According to the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/), Jennifer spent from 1965 until 1998 in the top 20 of baby girl names in the U.S. Jennifer was in the top ten for 26 of those years, and it was the number 1 name for 16 years straight peaking in 1974 at 4.03% of girls born in that year sharing my name. At least my parents spelled it like the majority of humanity spells Jennifer. Not Jenifer. Not Jeniffer. Not Genifer. Not Gennifer. Thank you mom and dad.

However, Erinn has a different story. No, that's not a typo. Erinn. Two Ns. According to Erinn's mom, "it's Gaelic." According to Erinn, it sucks having a common name that is spelled weird. She has spent her entire life, and will continue for the rest of her days, spelling her name for people. As a young child, she had to make sense of why all of her regularly named siblings were able to find little keepsake key chains with their names on them while she was out of luck.

Which brings us to...

Baby Naming Tip #1:

Which ever name you choose to give your child, spell it like the majority of humanity spells it. Otherwise, you will subject your child to a lifetime of close, but not quite, acceptance in society.