THATS WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO ME!!!!!!!!!!

We are just a few short weeks away from that magic holiday where an old man dressed in red climbs down the chimmney to make it the only day of the year where being woken by a screaming 6 year old is not only acceptable but something i look forward to. there is nothing quite like christmas magic when seen through the eyes of a child. but this has been a difficult year for all of us so i thought it might be a good time to take stock of what this holiday season means to me.

the other day my son came home and said “hey Dad, you know SANTA CLAUS isnt real????” i was horrified it was as if all that was good in my life was ripped away about 5 years too soon. i proceeded to debunk his class mates and offer proof that the mythical elf is real. i got a little carried away and for a few shining moments we both believed. then i made him watch the Polar Express and the Santa Clause 1-3 and by the time our holiday movie marathon was over we both felt better. i dont know how many more years he will believe but i will fight till my last breath to keep him believing in magic and hope as long as i can

as previously stated 2013 has been a bit of an ass kicker for my family, my parents lost their home and now live with me, my wife is ill and works a fraction of what she used to, the income has gone down, and debt in this day and age is always rising, so after bankrupcy and other hard lessons learned along the way, once again we found ourselves short on money and christmas was upon us. not wanting our kids to suffer for our misfortunes my wife and i decided to part with some treasured personal items to give the boys a good christmas and as we sacrificed valuables that may end up being irreplacable, the return we will get christmas morning will surely be worth that sacrifice

i decided to go back to school this year, and the area of study i have chosen offers very little chance of yielding major benefit in the long run. although im sacrificing family time to work a 60 hour a week job and go to school and intern has taken its toll. never before have i been so tired, never before have i felt so alone, and as i write this blog im suffering from what could be pnemonia and i feel like i could cry. but just when i feel like im, about to scrap this whole thing i hear  the Christmas song by Train and suddenly i picture better days ahead and feel better, i picture my son waking up on christmas morning and i feel driven again so even as life’s challenges begin to overwhelm me, i soon realize its nothing a little christmas spirit cant fix.

Over the weekend cable tv was jammed full of holiday movies Elf with Will Ferrell, the Chevy Chase classic Christmas Vacation, and of course the red ryder bee bee gun mania of A Christmas Story. there is nothing and i mean nothing like watching those films this time a year. you can have the longest day of your life and you will be uplifted when Buddy the Elf brings christmas cheer to central park. or when Clark Griswold gets his membership to the jelly of the month club instead of a bonus, and if you dont laugh out loud when Flick’s tongue gets stuck to the pole then i dont want to know you, long live the holiday classics

I have been watching Christmas Cartoons since i was 6 years old, and every year they find there way into my home and if they are on i will watch them. now that i have a 6 year old i get to enjoy them with him and see them all over again and experience them through his eyes, the magic every time Charlie Brown buys that little disheveled tree and it becomes perfect as the show ends, everytime rudolph lands on the island of misfit toys to take them to the children to be loved, everytime frosty melts in the greenhouse, and every time the winter warlock puts one foot in front of the other, i think to myself life is pretty good!!

This year before thanksgiving was even over 93.9 switched there programming over to all christmas music all the time. i hear people complain that its too early and we havent eaten turkey yet,  but like a sucker each year once i find it, i cant stop listening to it every year i pick up a few new christmas favorites that ive never heard before and this year is no different. the band called Straight No Chaser got ahold of the origianl Paul McCartney classic “Wonderful Christmastime” and took his original vocal and created a little xmas magic of their very own. i could jump on to itunes fast enough to download it!!!its the simple pleasures people that only this time of year can bring

ok this may cause me to end up on the naughty list but i have recently discovered the most delicious holiday beverage perhaps of all time. we all love hot chocolate with marshmallows but when you drop in the alcoholic beverage Rumchata you have simply created the most delicious way to warm after shoveling snow and getting sh*tfaced at the same time. my only regret is using the snowblower and forgetting that the dog lead was tucked beneath the blanket of new fallen snow, and imagine the dog’s surprise as he was being dragged by his neck to a very james bond-esque doom. the moral to this story dont drink and plow (while the dog is in the yard) dont worry the dog and the snow blower lived the only casualty was the bottle of rumchatta truly gone too soon

i have mentioned previously that i really enjoy christmas music, the songs are festive but very few full length albums are out there that you can enjoy all the way through. phil spectors xams album, a very special xmas vol 1, the beach boys xmas album and the jackson five xmas and Sinatra has a few that really move me too in their entirety. but it seems to be a lost art form and its been decades since a current artist has answered the bell, well i got a great surprise this year from an unlikely artist….Michael Buble offered one up recently that i heard and it is fabulous from cover to cover. you can stand on your porch drinking your hot chocolate-chatta as the snow gently falls and feels peace on earth. i dont even like his type of music typically but the effort that went into that album is a true throwback to a time when artists made christmas albums with meaning and not just a collection of songs

so thats what christmas means to me, its family friends, shared experiences festive music and movies and lights, on the top its all of those things but deep down christmas means looking back over a hard year and reflect over what went well, what didnt go well and what can be done next year to make things better. i started a journey in 2013 that will see more ups and downs in 2014 and maybe just maybe the new year will offer bigger and better things. no matter how bad things get, no matter what kind of stress life dishes out for one shining evening and day all is right with the world and six year old boy believes in santa claus and the magic of christmas..and it may not be much on a world stage, but its good enough for me….Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

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EMPTY GARDEN: THE TRAGIC DEATH OF JOHN LENNON IN SONG

It was december 8 1980 and i was a ten year old watching monday night football with my father when late in the fourth quarter Howard Cosell broke the news that Icon John Lennon had been shot to death outside his new york city apartment building. i watched my parents react to the news with a horror i had rarely seen. as a child i watched the Beatles cartoons on channel 44 sunday mornings (long before Nickelodeon) my parents had Beatler records that my brother and i would play on the stereo. we would pretend to be musicians and sing ” A Hard Days Night” at the top of our lungs only to be told to be quiet by our mother. i knew who John Lennon was and i understood death a little bit, but what i did not know on that evening that my life was changing forever.

As i grew older and i developed musical tastes, The Beatles and John Lennon were a focal point of my development as a person. its has been said that the music we love and identify tends to assist in molding our identities and the music that we often cling to speaks to us in ways that often times an artist never even intends. The music that i was hearing at such a young age has been carried with me to this day and i find even deeper meanings in songs that i didnt understand when i was that 10 year old boy the Lennon died.

John Lennon had just released a comeback record shortly before his death called Double Fantasy, it featured songs like ” just like starting over”, “Woman”, ” Watching the Wheels” they were the same type of great melodic rock songs that i had loved throughout his career. But now at age 43 those songs mean even more to me than ever. When he recorded the recorded he was celebrating his 40th birthday, it was the start of a brand new decade and he was embarking on a new journey because he had largely been out of the lime light since 1975. It was as if an old friend was back after being gone a while and then suddenly ripped away from us. My life has caught up to John Lennon and i am hearing songs in ways that i never even realized before. As i embark on life changes, career changes, struggling with raising a family, i embrace these songs in a much more intimate way than ever before. i have been listening to them for 30 years and its like a light bulb went off in my head, now i understand. One of the tracks on Double Fantasy that i didnt like before has become my favorite John Lennon song of all time. “Beautiful Boy” is a song that i sing to soothe my own son, when my son Bryan was born one month premature he spent almost 3 weeks in the NIC unit and i would only get to hold him for short periods of time, it was scary and i was dying inside. One day i was driving to the hospital for my 30 minutes to spend with my son and i heard this song, and when i sat in the nursery rocking chair and the nurse brought him to me with tubes in his nose i sat there and rocked this fussy little man and sang this song to him quietly “…the monsters gone he’s on the run and your daddy’s here” Bryan is six now and we still sing the song together now and we will always have that bond, and it only took me 27 years to get it.

So that is my tribute song to John, but im not a songwriter and many artists have written songs about him over the years in rememberence. it takes a certain kind of profound influence to inspire someone to write a song about something as personal as death and i have heard six songs in my lifetime that encapsulate John Lennon. three of which were made by close personal friends of his and one was done by a band that was inspired to be great because of him and two were songs of his that were finished by his band mates many years after the fact so we set forth to identify these great tribute songs and find out why they say so much about the man he was and legacy he left behind that is relevant as much today as it was on that cold december evening 33 years ago

the first song is “Here Today” a song written by friend and band mate Paul McCartney. it was released in 1981 on Paul’s album Tug of War which was produced by Beatle producer George Martin. it was a stark acoustic ballad in which Paul emotionally paid homage to his friend. There was a lot of controversy in 1980 right after the murder, when reporters crowded around McCartney in London to get his reaction to the news he was quoted as saying ” it was a real drag” that angered mourners, and was misunderstood as Paul and John were still at odds in the late 70’s over the dissolutuon of their Beatles song writing partnership. Later on Paul revealed that John’s passing affected him deeply and took him years to recover. McCartney still plays Here Today as part of his live shows to this day in tribute

Fellow Beatle George Harrison also penned a tribute song to John that became a top ten hit in 1981 called “all those years ago” off his Somewhere in England album. the song was more uptempo and upbeat than the mccartney song and it featured Paul on keyboards, bass and backing vocals, it also feature Ringo Starr on drums and backing vocals, it was the first and only time the surviving Beatles work together untill the Anthology project reunited them in 1996. the song sounds like it could have been taken from a Beatle session and featured some of George’s most personal lyrics to date.

A good friend of John Lennon’s throughout his crazy journey through the 1970’s was Elton John. they worked together, played together and drank brandy alexanders together throughout the decade. Elton John was the biggest rock star on the planet at the time and John’s career was a bit erratic due to his relationship with wife yoko ono and the constant specter of the Beatles hanging over his head, his creativity was very angry and aserbic and not terribly well recieved by the masses. He hadnt had a solo #1 hit when he was invited into an Elton John recording seesion to play guitar and do backing vocals on a cover of his Beatle classic” Lucy in the sky with Diamonds” Elton loved the experience and begged John to play a live show with him. Lennon resoundingly refused, but the two began working on a song that they co-wrote called Whatever gets you through the night” Elton guaranteed it would be a number one hit, John wasnt fond of it and did not agree so the wager was made that if the song went #1 John would have to play live with Elton when his tour rolled through Mdison Square Garden, the rest as they say is history. Elton took John’s passing very hard and penned one of the most touching songs of his career entitled “Empty Garden” a fitting tribute as only the Rocket Man himself could create.

in 1989 the irish rock quartet U2 release an album called Rattle and Hum and on this record Bono and the Edge penned a song called “GOD PT 2” which was a very angry and aggressive response to John Lennon’s song “GOD” in which they attack the an author who wrote an inflamatory book about John, while taking concepts from the song and bringing Lennon’s concepts into the here and now. U2 routinely covers John’s music in concert and Bono has led a lifestyle of activism based on many of the examples that John had left behind

in 1996 the Beatles came together to create the Anthology series, a full retrospective of the beatles career. but what made this project so unique was the fact that Yoko Ono gave Paul McCartney two unfinished unreleased songs that John had written shortly before his death. along with ELO front man and producer Jeff Lynne the surviving Beatles set out to do the impossible, create new Beatle music with John singing lead vocals. both songs “free as a bird” and “real love” both were #1 singles but were met by mixed reviews by critics and fans alike. some thought this should never had happened, some thought the production quality was poor, some called the songs sappy trash that Lennon would never had written (absolutely asinine). To me they represented the ultimate tribute to a man gone too soon, both songs were reflective and melancholy but maintained a very Beatle like quality answering what would they sound like if they reunited as best as they could with one member missing. those that shunned these songs missed the point, they were never meant to rival existing Beatle music but as a fitting tribute to their fallen brother making it feel as if John himself was actually physically participating in the Anthology project.

ive had a long journey myself since that cold december night as a ten year old to the man i am now, i remember John through his songs of course but i find that these tributes tell a tale of a man that was more than just a musician, icon, activist, legend they tell the story of a friend, a brother , a human being. there are very few celebrity deaths that transcend generations, JFK, MLK, Marilyn Monroe, deaths that are talked about, conspiracized about, and celebrated with anniversaries and moments of silence…we just lost Nelson Mandela he will most surely fall into that category, but i shared my moment of silence at noon on December 8th when my favorite rock station played “Imagine” i never knew the man but as i sat in that NIC unit cradling my very sick newborn and i sang” Beautiful boy” softly into his little ear, i am pretty sure John Lennon knew me>

Bruce Springsteen to release 18th studio album “High Hopes” on January 14th 2014

hot on the heels of the success of “WRECKING BALL” in 2012, the Boss returns with his 18th record forty years after the release of his debut record “Greetings from Asbury Park” this 12 song album entitles HIGH HOPES will feature 12 songs and will see the edition of Rage Against the Machine guitarist and “honorary E Street band member Tom Morello. there wont be a ton of new music, it will be new recordings of songs some of which fans will recognize, but they will feature new treatments with Morello joining the fray. all the songs selected were recorded on tour, which is the first time Springsteen has recorded music while touring. the title track was previously featured as part of the Blood Brothers documentary, and The Ghost of Tom Joad was the title track to a solo album Springtsteen made in the 90’s. mix in a few cover songs ie punk rock band SUICIDE’S Dream Baby Dream among others and add a few songs that have been regarded as legendary outtakes from previous album sessions most noteably American Skin (41 shots) you get 12 like new songs and a brand new tour to kick off in spring 2014, the hardest working rock n roller is showing no signs of slowing down, crediting Morello with stimulating his creative juices…the Boss has high hopes for his new album and so do I!!!!




HERE COMES PSYCH THE MUSICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!

On Sunday night December 15, on the USA Network one of the most popular and longest running cable TV shows enters its 8th and final season. PSYCH debuted back in 2006 starring James Roday as “psychic” detective Shawn Spencer and Dule Hill as partner Burton “Gus” Guster and together they consult the Santa Barbara police department in solving crimes. The irony and main plot line of the show is Roday’s character is not psychic, just keenly observant and showcase very gifted detective skills. Its a comedy, action adventure, drama, science fiction show that now at long last becomes a musical as the season eight premier is the long awaited 2 hour episode that has been six years in the making. due to its popularity as season 2 wound to a close, and it was clear that USA was going to pick the show up for three additional seasons, creator Steve Franks began tossing around the idea of making this musical. At that time it seemed that it may never come to fruition but as the show grew in popularity the concept began to gain steam, fan interest in the musical was overwhelming and so the script and music began to come together. Show creator Steve Franks already a seasoned musician, his rock n roll band the Friendly Indians perform the show’s ultra catchy theme song “i know you know”, was more than up to the task of creating the epic music numbers that would be required to pull off a job of this magnitude. Complete with full cast participation, and multiple guest appearances by re-occuring characters that have been seen throughout the series the stage has been set and all systems are go for the PSYCH event of a lifetime. A few select fans were already treated to a hollywood style red carpet world premiere this passed summer in which the cast arrived to the theater in the oscar mayer hot dog weenie wagon instead of limo, and the initial reviews were sparkling. Flash forward to December and we are now just a few weeks away from the epic premiere. they have already begun to sell pre-orders of the dvd on the USA website and Amazon.com, but i cant help but feeling a bit melancholy as the event draws near….this is the final season and after the musical only five episodes will remain before series ends for good. Actress Maggie Lawson has already become involved in another series called Back in the Game in which she stars as a single mother who moves in with her father portrayed legendary actor James Caan. the new show has already been heralded as one of the brightest new comedies of the past fall season and has been picked up for a second season, the character she portrays in the new series is a far cry from Detective Juliet O’Hara from PSYCH. Its funny but its not PSYCH, when the series finale is over all we will have is re-runs, netflix and commemorative box sets to remind us that one of the most charming tributes to growing up in the 1980’s and 1990’s is gone forever. Dont forget to set your DVR for PSYCH the Musical on December 15 at 9pm on the USA Network, and enjoy one of television’s greatest guilty pleasures..your Pineapple awaits!!!!




Well tonight thank god its them instead of you!!!!!!!(my top 5 xmas songs of all times)

HO HO HO holy crap its that festive time of year and what would christmas time be without splendid holiday music and films that have become as synonimous with the season as trees and stockings
my top five christmas songs go a little something like this…..

#5 Step into christmas elton john


#4 run with the fox chris squire

#3 do they know its christmas band aid

#2 wonderful christmas time paul mccartney

#1 christmas (baby please come home) U2

on behalf of this webpage id like to wish everybody a happy holiday season…comeback for more goodness in 2014

p.s i love this song although its not a traditional xmas song i need it to be here….so from me to you a gift of song….
billy joel with “shes right on time”

Welcome to INSTANT KARMA evening news……stories that i want to read and then write about!!!!!!!!!!

good evening world, and now the news as i see it…………………MLB: Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox
Good news for Chicago WhiteSox fans on wednesday as the club resigned all star first basemen Paul Konerko to a one year deal worth $1.5 million dollars in 2014 and will net him an additional $1 million dollars in the year 2021. The 37 year old slugger is coming off a disappointing 2013 season and will be accepting a lesser role in 2014 to me more of a clubhouse leader and mentor for new comer rookie Jose Abreu. Konerko had planned on 2013 being his final season but everything went to shambles,Konerko was optimistic when speaking on returning in a limited role, “to have the opportunity to comeback in a lesser role, im kind of a good employee to have because i have no future and no agenda” WhiteSox chairman Jerry Reisdorf knows exactly what having Konerko back in the fold means to his very young ball club, “anyone who is in our clubhouse day in and day out knows the value Paul brings to our franchise as a leader, as a teammate, as a mentor and as our captain”
So let the Paul Konerko retirement tour 2014 begin, we have one more chance to watch this historic White Sox legend play the game he loves.

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You say its your birthday!!!!! the legendary rock band the Beatles first full length album release turns 50 in 2013. Before everything you know historically, before SGT Pepper, before the movies, before the massive hysteria of their arrival in the US in 1964, before the break up, before the solo careers, before the murder of John Lennon, before the anthology reunion, before it all four relatively unknown local musicians piled into and Abbey Road Studios in London at 10:00 am on February 11, 1963 and made a record that took one day to record. the session wrapped at 10:45 that evening. From one 12 hour session the beginning of a music revolution took place. 10 songs were recorded, most noteably ” i saw her standing there” and “Twist and Shout” were recorded in that session, two songs that built a foundation for what would become one of histories most storied rock n roll bands. Paul McCartney recalled the days events “it was amazingly cheap, no messing, just a massive effort from us, and at the end of the day you had your album” Coming into that day the Beatles already had two singles that would eventually appear on the album “love me do” and the title track “please please me” the album was a mixture of originals and some of their favorite covers which were part of their already infamous live shows. Album producer George Martin was a classically trained musician and seemed an odd choice to head a rock n roll project but forming of this “odd bedfellow” partnership was a learning experience for both Martin and the Beatles. John Lennon recounted in an interview “he taught us a lot, and im sure we taught him a lot by our primitive music ability” Please Please Me has been regarded as a landmark album that captured the raw essence of the scruffy bar-band, although over the years the music grew more sophisticated and visionary, it was never more pure than on this record released 50 years ago. A big happy birthday to the “one that started it all”

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FINALLY!!!! the Chicago Bears on monday night december 9th 2013 in a nationally televised game against the Dallas Cowboys, will finally retire #89 the number worn by legendary player/coach Mike Ditka. “Mike Ditka embodies the spirit of everything the Bears are about” says Bears Chairman George McCaskey. as a player Mike Ditka revolutionized the position of tight end was a two time all pro and named NFL rookie of the year during his 5 year career with the Bears, he went on to play six more seasons one with EAGLES and five with the COWBOYS. After his career ended he went into coaching as an assitant for the Cowboys from 1973-1981. in 1982 he was personally hired by Bears legendary owner George Halas to restore intergity to his losing franchise, and within 3 years of that hire as a coach Mike Ditka brought “papa bear” Halas , and the Bears their one and only Super Bowl title in 1985. this will the 14th and final jersey that the BEARS franchise will retire. “its a tremendous honor” Ditka said, it will be a crowning achievement for the beloved hall of famer and Chicago Icon.

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YOU STAY CLASSY NYC???? thats right on december 20th 2014 Will Ferrell returns as beloved charecter Ron Burgandy in the new Paramount film Anchorman 2 the legend continues. the film picks the story left behind by the original film some 10 years ago. In new story the San Diego based news team picks up and heads to new york to be part of a 24 hour CNN-esque news channel, and there are some things you need to know about this triumphant return. 1. everyone from the original cast is back (Rudd, Carrell, Koechner, Applegate)2. not all the great cameos have been leaked 3. Dont expect a lot of historical accuracy (isnt that part of the fun)4. there will be out takes lots of outakes (early sales pitch for dvd release)5. they have discussed making Anchorman 2.5 and there is a big surprise waiting for us in this film, adam mckay the director leaked the presence of acting icon Harrison Ford as a mjor role in this film. lets not get too ahead of ourselves there is still a month before release and who knows what we will find out between now and then, but one thing is for sure you can bet a case of sex panther cologne and ron burgandy scotch that this film will pack the box office over the christmas holiday weekend. happy holidays and you stay classy America!!!!!!!!!!!!