Friday, December 19, 2008

'Twas the Night Before an Intrigue Christmas

OK, so it's actually several nights before Christmas, but since I'll be in Minnesota scarfing down my grandma's Christmas bread on the 24th, I'm subjecting you to my poetry today.

Yes, poetry.

Let me warn you all, I am, quite possibly, the world’s worst poet. It pains me greatly that one of my "poems" actually appeared in my college literary magazine in all it’s bitter, purple, deep-and-misunderstood glory. Copies of it are still Out There, and sometimes I imagine my old classmates digging copies of it out of dusty old boxes, then turning in my direction and pointing and laughing. Hard.

But even terrible poets have their moments sometimes. To help us get into the holiday spirit, I’m sharing a poem I wrote several years ago that isn't all bad, with major assistance from and major apologies to the late Clement Moore.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

’Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a page got written;
Didn’t even touch my mouse.

My journal was placed
By the table with care,
But I don’t care to open it,
So it’s just sitting there.

My opening is weak,
My love scene is sap,
So instead of revising,
I’m taking a nap.

When out by my mailbox
There arose such a clatter,
I turned off Oprah
And rose to see what was the matter.

Away to the doorway
I flew in a flash,
Jammed a cap on my bedhead and called,
"I’m sorry! I’ll give you cash!"

The mailman was sitting
In the new-fallen snow,
My dog Zelda chewing on his ankle,
While he shrieked, "Dear God, no!"

When what to my wondering
Eyes should appear,
But a letter from Harlequin
About my proposal so dear.

And the papers inside
Made it thin and not thick;
I knew in a moment
It would make me quite sick.

The rejection, more rapid than eagles it came,
And I screamed, and I stomped,
And called the editor a bad name.

"Darn opening lines! Darn characters!
Darn plots I keep fixin’!
Blast scene-and-sequel! Darn fonts!
Oh, that editor is a vixen!

"To the top of the stairs!
Throw my computer from the wall!
Shred my manuscript, toss my journal,
Kick my monitor down the hall!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the housetop in my bathrobe I flew,
With my hard drive, my printer, and my new scanner, too.

And then in a twinkling,
They all bounced off the roof,
And landed on the ground
In a sad little poof.

As I came down the stairs
And was turning around,
Down the sidewalk little Zelda
Came with a bound.

With snow in her fur,
From her head to her foot,
And my letter in her mouth
Covered with doggie drool and soot.

The mailman in haste
Had flung on his pack,
And was running in terror
Without looking back.

Zelda’s eyes, how they twinkled!
Her fangs grinning, how merry!
I took the envelope from her mouth,
And she went to chew on my neighbor Terry.

I unfolded the letter,
Read the contents below,
And my face must’ve looked
Just as white as the snow.

"Dear Tracy," I read as I gritted my teeth.
"How I loved your proposal!
The book to us you must bequeath!

"Your three chapters were perfect,
Your synopsis better than the telly.
I would rather read your book
Than eat chocolate, peanut butter, or jelly."

My novel was gone,
The disks thrown off the shelf.
And I laughed bitterly at my new junk pile,
In spite of myself.

I spoke not a word,
But went straight to my work,
And swept up the pieces
While calling myself a jerk.

And keeping keeping my eyes
Focused firmly on my toes,
I tried to keep from crying
And blowing my nose.

I trudged up the porch steps,
To Zelda gave a whistle,
And she ran to me,
With a disk in her mouth, like a missile.

I exclaimed and I clapped
When the label was in sight. ...

It was the last copy of my novel.
And the disk was all right.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best. Christmas Carols. Ever (2008 version)

As evidenced by my last entry, my brother Tom and I have made an annual tradition of raging over bad holiday music in the blogosphere. But to prove to Holly Jacobs and others that we aren't actually sarcastic Scrooges and do secretly love Christmas music, we also post our favorites.

Long story short, here are some of our favorite Christmas carols that haven't appeared on previous lists!:

TOM: My first pick is “The Christmas Waltz” by Frank Sinatra. This one makes me think of my grandparents. I can picture them dancing to this song in their youth and it gives me a nostalgic feeling.

TRACY: Actually, they tend to polka more than waltz. At least, before poor Grandma’s knees went. But I know what you mean.

My new Christmas carol love is “Lechon, Lechon, Lechon” by Victor Manuelle, which was a free iTunes download last year. Funny story: I burned this on a CD for a vegetarian friend of mine before I bothered to figure out what a “lechon” was. It's not a word that I've heard before--who knows if it's even used in Honduras? (Actually, Mom would know, but I'm too lazy to call her.) Ergo, I didn’t know it.

Anyhoo, Manuelle is singing about a traditional dish they make every holiday season. I assumed the root was “leche,” Spanish for “milk,” and figured that it might be similar to these homemade caramel things my husband’s mom makes from Cuba.

Unfortunately, “lechon” is roast pork, so this is not a vegetarian-friendly song. I’m hoping she never looks it up. But for all you carnivores out there, it’s a really fun salsa song with an infectious beat! Because everyone’s holiday needs a little Latino flavor!

TOM: In that spirit, how about “Aquellos Diciembres?” This is a Spanish song about the past Decembers.

TRACY: Hence you have the added bonus of not offending PETA and having them come after your iPod with a can of spray paint! Excellent!

TOM: This brings out the Latino in me and is a fun upbeat song. It is on iTunes, but without most of the verses. Usually, I have to settle to listening to an old record that our parents have at home. If anyone out there has a good digital copy, please pass it along!

TRACY: YES! Tom and I picked this up on a trip to visit our family in Honduras when I was 9 and he was 5. It’s old, but it holds up. I dare you to not start dancing when the conga drums kick in!

One more Latin entry—"Ay, Ay, Ay, It’s Christmas” by Ricky Martin. For some awful, awful reason, the only version that’s available on iTunes also features Rosie O’Donnell bleating in the background. I don’t mind Rosie, but girlfriend. You cannot sing. It is time to face that fact and let GOOOOOOOOO of your musical aspirations. I’m convinced her habit of randomly breaking out into showtunes is what really killed her show.

But even Rosie cannot ruin the wonderfulness that is this song. Sweet, charming, romantic, and totally danceable. Christmas music doesn’t get much better than this!

TOM: “Sleigh Ride” by Barenaked Ladies. I can pictures my brother, sister, and I singinig this in the back of our parents car, annoying the heck out of them when we were younger. So fun!

TRACY: Annoying Mom is always fun!

New kid-friendly discovery—“Frosty the Snowman” by Kimberly Locke. I’m not a huge Kimberly Locke fan—I think she always sounds like she’s about to kick your ass when she sings. “You can be my Eighth World Wonder! And then I’ll kick your ass!”

But I have to say, she added a bunch of charm and a dash of old-school soul into this holiday classic. My daughters love Frosty—the show, the song, the rewindable preview on Tivo—and so I am heartily sick of Jimmy Durante’s version. It was a blessed relief to discover this on Sirius while driving the other day. The girls loved it and immediately made me download it when we got home, and I’m glad I did!

TOM: "Veni Veni," by Manheim Steamroller. This is a song directed by John Rutter, who by the way directed me in my performace at Carnegie Hall. (okay - I was part of a mass choir, but I had to throw that in!) I like it because he puts together Gregorian Chant with handbells and makes a cool haunting sound. Anyway, it is a great song--music and vocal.

TRACY: People are SO going to make fun of us for liking Manheim Steamroller. You do know that, right?

Anyhoo, seeing how we verbally decimated Boney M. for reggae-tizing Christmas songs in our list of holiday worsts, I thought I’d offer up “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Alana Davis as an example of how to add a dash of reggae to a carol and do it right. I ADORE singer/songwriter Alana Davis, and I really admire her flair for covering songs in ways that are always wholly original and a lot of fun. She put her own spin on “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “32 Flavors,” and they are just genius. Her one Christmas song in existence is no exception to this rule. Brilliant!

TOM: "Here comes Santa Claus," by Elvis. I love this! I always get caught imitating the King when this comes on. You don't sing "Here comes Santa Claus." You sing "HerecomeSanClaus."

TRACY: Oh, and I know you like haunting holiday music. Have you heard Alison Krauss and Yo-Yo Ma’s “Wexford Carol?” BEST! VERSION! EVAH! Krauss puts her trademark bluegrass spin on this classic, and accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma’s so-beautiful-you-want-to-cry strings, it’s absolute perfection. I’m burning it to a CD right now and popping it in the mail.

TOM: "Caroling, Caroling," by Nat King Cole. I am a big Nat King Cole fan and love a lot of his Christmas songs.

TRACY: Me, too!

TOM: This one makes you want to go skipping through the snow. Then, you realize that you live in Minnesota and that it is 20 below out and it will take you 20 minutes to get dressed properly and then you can't skip because of the sheer volume of clothing that you have on! On a tangent--if you live in a cold area, try this trick. If it is 0 degrees or below 0, heat a mug of water in the microwave (boiling)--quickly race to the door and through the water into the air outside. You will get a cool reaction when the water hits the outside temperature!

TRACY: What does it do? COME ON, you have to tell me what it does?!

I LOVE Loreena McKennitt, who started out as a Celtic musician and then let her world travels influence her music so now it’s a hybrid of Celtic, Arabic, and other styles from across the globe. She FINALLY put out a full-length holiday CD this year, and it’s five-hundred kinds of gorgeous. If I had to pick just a couple, they would be “Snow” and “The Seven Rejoices of Mary.”

TOM: "A Marshmellow World (Live)," by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. I had to sing this in choir in high school and HATED it. But, listening to these 2 guys do it is fun! Plus, the live version contain the audience laughing (at who knows what) Frank calling Dean a Pumpkinhead, and of course both of them improvising. Too bad that we will never see specials with moments like this ever again. You will never have 2 big name stars do anything like this. Instead, you might get Paris Hilton and Trischelle.

TRACY: Clannad lead-singer Maire Brennan (who recently changed her name to “Moya” Brennan for all the people out there who used to pronounce her Gaelic name “mare.” Like, oh, ME.) released a solo Christmas album last year, and I have to say, her version of “Carol of the Bells” is probably the most brilliant version I’ve ever heard. Most people who try to put this song to words just end up sounding like dumbasses. “Ding! Dong! Christmas is here! Ring! Ring!” YOU ARE NOT A BELL! QUIT ACTING LIKE IT BEFORE SOMEONE HAS YOU COMMITTED!

But Moya/Maire avoids the pitfall of the ringy-ding-dings and just riffs on the “Christmas is here” part and a lot of Celtic zhoosh. The result—pure gorgeousness.

TOM: "Silent Night," by Joe Piscapo as Frank Sinatra on SNL. Okay - not a classic but a funny moment. My favorite line is: "Round that virgin chick, she had a kid...."

TRACY AND TOM: "He grew up to be famous. You all know what he did!"

TOM: This takes place on the Gumby Christmas special with eddie murphy as Gumby dammit. This reminds me that I have too many holiday things to watch on blu-ray and dvd before the year ends!

TRACY: Just heard Tracy Chapman's "O, Holy Night" on the radio while I was driving to pick up the kids from school. Josh Groban and Faith Hill, meet Tracy Chapman. And then cry, because you so suck in comparison.

TOM: A final comment: I find a lot of good Christmas songs come in small bites. Sirius/XM has been playing some piano and other instrumental transitions in between songs. Very soothing and good musically. they always end so fast (only about 15 seconds) and they get me wanting more. It also reminds me of SNL when the band would play Christmas Carols going into commercials. One that I remember is "Good King Wenceslaus" being played on a sousaphone. So cool!

TRACY: Yeah, Manheim Steamroller AND "Good King Wenceslaus" on a sousaphone? People are SO going to point and laugh at us after this one. Especially after the sarcastic attack we had in the last post.

Anyway, happy holidays, everyone! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, any new Christmas carols y'all are loving this year? Or old favorites?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Worst. Christmas Carols. Ever. 2008 Edition

As any longtime readers of this blog (the most sporadic blog in the universe--sorry about that) are aware, mybrother Tom gets worked up about exactly four things: Pearl Jam, Star Wars, any Minnesota sports team, and whatever Christmas carols are on rotation on Sirius satellite radio. As I noted in our "Hall of Shame" post on the Intrigue Authors blog a couple of days ago, controversy has come and gone in his home state of Minnesota—home to the Larry Craig bathroom scandal, former WWE wrestler Jesse (the Body) Ventura turned Jesse (the Governor) Ventura, the Franken-Coleman recount, and so on. Does Tom get worked up about any of that? No. Tom gets worked up over one too many rounds of "Santa Baby" while he's driving.

So, to provide an outlet for his fury, we've made an annual tradition of blogging about those Christmas carols on Sirius that make us insane. Enjoy this year's version. (To see past years', click on the "December" posts from years past in the menu at the left, and look for a title about Christmas carols that looks angry.) Enjoy!

TOM: My first pick this year is Extreme, “Christmas Time Again.” I don’t even know where this one came from. I have no clue why Extreme thought that they needed to make a Christmas song. It is dripping with sap, complete with the piano. You guys got one break with “More Than Words,” but this takes it over the top. Since these guys are from Massachusetts, I will give this song a "Wicked Awful." Plus, no matter what anyone says, Gary Cherone was NEVER in Van Halen.

TRACY: Ooooooooh. I hadn’t heard that one yet, so I just went and checked it out on iTunes. Ow. And why do some songwriters automatically think that if the lyrics rhyme, they’re all brilliantly high-brow? This one sounds like a Hallmark “Just How I Feel” card set to music. Can somebody pass the insulin?

“In the morning, I see you smile. It only lasts a little while."

This song I would really like to file. In a great big, nasty, steaming pile….

Extreme, if you want to make a comeback (I know—not bloody likely, but let’s pretend a Christmas miracle is pending.), butchering Christmas music isn’t the way to do it. Ay.

My first pick for the year is Michael Bolton, “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.” Nothing fills me with the urge to drop a CD in my driveway and run it over repeatedly with my car like hearing Michael Bolton’s affected voice squeezing Every! Last! Drop! Of! Drama! from the world’s most beloved holiday carols. This year’s debacle is “Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland,” with its pseudo-jazz whiny saxophones and those constipated swoops this guy does with his voice.

I loathe Michael Bolton. And this song! This song is so overwrought, it sounds like he’s singing about walkin’ in a winter wonderland with cancer, right after someone killed his puppy and ran off with his girlfriend.

Mr. Bolton, meet Mr. Connick Jr., who so totally SCHOOLS you, you ought to just hang up your sheet music in shame and go sing vacuum cleaner jingles on local access cable. Seriously, stop, dude. Just stop.

TOM: At least we can snicker at the fact that he thought he was relevant again by re-hooking up with Nicolette Sheridan and then realizing that people think that she looks like a man and bailing on that. Moo hoo.

TRACY: Mean! Poor Nicolette Sheridan! On behalf of my brother, I apologize to every woman who ever lived. And aged.

TOM: Next is “O Come O Come Emmanuel” by Enya. Help! I am trapped in Narnia! Either that, or I am in a slow-motion sequence in one of the Lord of the Rings movies.

I feel like I should be scared listening to this. I like haunting Christmas carols, but this one gives me the willies. Plus, Enya sounds like a pump organ in this. Or is that a real pump organ?

TRACY: I like Enya! But I agree, this one is a little on the weird side.

Second for me is “Mary Did You Know?” by anyone. This song is so cloying. But that’s not my biggest beef with it. That would be lyrics like this one: “Mary, did you know that your baby boy is lord of all creation?”

I’m just taking a stab here, but after receiving a prediction from her cousin Elizabeth, a VISIT from an ARCHANGEL, a giant star floating over her head for days on end, three kings visiting her in a freaking stable, and a heavenly choir of cherubim and seraphim singing in the sky shortly after she gave birth, I’m guessing that she does, Captain Obvious.

TOM: Yes! Totally agree! The version by Clay Aiken is especially bad. I don't know if he sings it or not, but Michael W. Smith would also make this a love-to-hate song. I don't want to listen to a Christmas carol from a guy that makes me feel that I am going to hell because I don't thrust my arm up in church and show everyone how hard I pray.

TRACY: But if you thrust your arms up and sway in a church where no one else EVER does that, it means you’re holier than the rest of the heathens surrounding you. Surely you knew that? (Mom is going to kill us for that one, because she'll know exactly who we're talking about. Sorry, Mom!)

TOM: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jimmy Boyd. An alleged classic …

TRACY: Totally alleged.

TOM: … this song makes me want to stick chopsticks into my ears as far as possible and start scrambling. I am sure (at least I hope) that Jimmy was a young lad when he made this, but he sounds like a cross of a Munchkin, the leprechaun, and that old lady that you used to do yard work for and she would give you two quarters for five hours of work.

Plus, I just hate this song overall. Is mommy having an affair with Santa? Does mommy have some sick ... wait, I will stop there. This is probably a PG site.

TRACY: As I noted last year with “Santa Baby,” sexualizing Santa is just nasty. Plus, you KNOW that child is scarred for life, and that totally kills the holiday spirit.


“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and It Turned Me Into a Serial Killer.” Has an intriguing (Pun alert!) ring to it. It’d HAVE to be better than the original!

How about “Please Come Home for Christmas” by the Eagles? Probably the single most narcoleptic holiday song in existence today. The relentless rimshot on EVERY fourth beat. The endless funeral dirge of a melody. The sleepy hoarseness of Don Henley’s voice. It all makes me want to—zzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Get this off my car radio before I accidentally lapse into a coma, run off the road, and haplessly plunge into a retention pond. And for all of those die-hard Eagles fans out there, I hate “Hotel California” with the white-hot fiery passion of a thousand suns, too, so feel free to go to the comments and BRING IT.

TOM: Nothing says Christmas like a bunch of guys who hate each other with a white-hot fiery passion singing about Christmas. I think that.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oops--I just fell asleep thinking about it.

TRACY: Speaking of funeral dirges, who was the genius who came up with “The 12 Days of Christmas?” I swear, just hearing that relentlessly cheerful holiday-death-march of a song gives me a migraine. Trying to sing it would probably land me in the hospital.

TOM: “You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch” by Manheim Steamroller. I like the original song …

TRACY: Boris Karloff, baby!

TOM: … and I like Manheim Steamroller, but these should not go together. Hey, I like peanut butter and I like chocolate, but they shouldn't ... oh wait.

Anyway, this song to me is the equivalent of dancing on someone's grave--you just don't go there.

TRACY: I feel like I’ve entered Electronica Hell every time I hear it. My three-year-old Marin likes to turn to me whenever she has a slightly controversial action plan in her head (i.e. swan diving off the couch or smacking her sister in the head) and say, “Good idea, or bad idea?”


Oh, and I can’t forget Bob Seger’s version of “Little Drummer Boy.” I am such a sap that generally, hearing just the first few seconds of “The Little Drummer Boy” is enough to make me choke up and get all farklempt. (“He played his little drum! It was all he had! He did his best! *SOB!*” )

But when I heard Bob Seger’s version the other day, I started to cry for a whole new reason. Absolutely purgatorial.

Seger could give Michael Bolton a few lessons in musical melodrama. “RRRRRRAH-pah-pum-PUUUUUEEEEEUUUUUEEEEEUUUUMMMMM!” At least he added an electric guitar for originality, although that still didn’t save this mess.

Honestly, if Mr. Seger isn’t singing about taking those old records off his shelf, I have no time for him.

TOM: I totally get a great visual of Bob cutting this in the studio in July. He has his arm slightly extended in front of him, hand balled into a fist, eyes closed, neck straining. He finishes the song and there is silence in the room. Bob falls to his knees, the producer rushes in and tells him how touched he was by that. Hork!

Right there the producer should have really said what he thought: “Sorry, Bob, just sing songs about trucking. By the way, I put my pants on the same as you. The only difference is that I make gold records in my pants! You are going to want that cowbell in there!"

TRACY: That, ladies and gentlemen, is an obscure Saturday Night Live reference—the cowbell/Blue Oyster Cult skit featuring Christopher Walken. Tommy and I have a ton of these. In fact, we use them so often as verbal shorthand, I think SNL is our own language of twins. Except we’re not actually twins.

TOM: “Silver Bells” by Kenny G.

TRACY: UGH! Anything by Kenny G.! Is he really playing the saxophone, or did he just figure out how to force an air horn to make music?

TOM: I always think of the good byes on SNL when I hear this song. "I had fun hosting Saturday Night Live! Thanks to the cast! The crew! Special thanks to musical guest No Doubt!"

And Kenny G's hair. Ugh.

TRACY: Total ugh. Tell you what. You grab his saxophone and bury it at sea, and I’ll put a metal bucket on his head and clang it with a spoon until the urge to make “music” and inflict it on the masses leaves him.

TOM: I guess this is good to listen to when I am waiting at the dentist's office or in a 25- person line at the post office to mail boxes to Florida. Good times!

TRACY: Yay! Presents for me! Anyway, next up: Carrie Underwood, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Actually, it’s HORK, the Herald Angels’ Eardrums Bleed When They Hear You Sing This Song, Carrie Underwood!

Now I like Carrie Underwood. She seems like a very nice girl who isn’t busy flashing the free world or running from bar to bar w ith cocaine goobers in her nose. Great, great voice, too. She wants to sing about dragging her key on the side of some jerk’s pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive, I’m totally there. But her version of this song blows.

In fact, let the record show that any Christmas carol with a country twang just needs to be thrown into a supercollider and spun into protons and electrons that can float freely away.

Christmas carol + country twang = Tracy taking a screwdriver and a tire iron to her radio.

TOM: I am going to say that I like this song because I know that you and our brother Troy hate her. Yes, I voted for her on American Idol and I stick by my pick! You sing, Carrie! You sing and don't let the detractors get to you!

TRACY: I don’t hate her! I just liked Bo Bice better on that particular season of American Idol, but she’s really stepped up her stage presence, which was her biggest weakness back in the day. You just like to brag because you got that Idol winner right, Mr. “But I LIKE Anwar!”

TOM: Boney M., “Mary's Boy Child/Oh My Lord.” This wins the award for Biggest Train Wreck of the Holiday Season. Where do I start with them? First, these guys are from West Germany, but this is a calypso song. What?!

Next, their really lame band name. Are you supposed to wonder if it stands for Boney Maroney or something else? Are they trying to be hip with the shorthand or something? Do I really care?


BTW, they also have another one called “Hooray! Hooray! It’s Holi- Holi-day!” that is perhaps even worse. Not only is it set to a horrifying calypso beat, but then they insert a veritable plethora of “heidi-heidi-hos” in there. Which are both annoying and deeply insulting to anyone named Heidi.

In the name of all that is holy, these people need to be stopped. Where’s Ironman when you need him?

I know I carped about it last year, but this one is so bad, it deserves a repeat: “Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey” by Lou Monte. It’s been a year since I last heard it, and I have to say, this one still sucks more than any single piece of music in the history of the planet. I dare you to listen to this and not be going “Da-da-dat-dat! HEEEEEEE-awwwwwww! HEEEEEE-awwwwww!” through your nose for the rest of the day.

Not only is this not a productive use of my time, it’s also almost enough to make me run screaming to the doctor to beg for some lobotomizing drug that will make it all go away. This song is the devil.

TOM: I came up with a sequel! Dominic becomes Elmer's Glue! Sorry to my friends in PETA, but I can't handle this.

TRACY: Poor Dominic! He didn’t ask to have an abysmal song dedicated in his honor. How do I know that? Because donkeys can’t talk, that’s how!

TOM: Well, how about Lou Monte becomes Elmer's Glue?

TRACY: I can live with that.

TOM: Finally, I pick the new Christmas Album by Tony Bennett. It is over Tony. You had a great resurgence thanks to Unplugged back in the 90s and parlayed that into some great casino gigs, but now it is time to fade away.

TRACY: HEY! I love Tony Bennett! You can’t do that! Picking on Tony Bennett is sick and wrong!

TOM: Well, I am probably harboring some ill will from the last time I saw him. He was performing in Minneapolis at the sales conference of my previously employer--also known as "The big-box bullseye retailer who must not be named." Anyway, he starts saying "I love this town. Every time I come to this town, I enjoy myself. I love the people, the food. What a great town that you live in." And I wanted to scream "What town is it? Do you know where you are?! Minneapolis! Minneapolis, dammit!”

Where's Padme? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

TRACY: We are so totally having words when I get up to Minneapolis for Christmas. I was going to let you finish us off, but I’m going to have to pick another trainwreck song, because I can’t let this end by lambasting a LIVING LEGEND who HAPPENS TO BE EIGHTY-TWO and so should be excused for forgetting where he is. At least he remembered the lyrics. And he still sounds awesome.

Anyway, my final picks are:

Bruce Springsteen singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." This song just sounds like the Boss is having digestive issues. I'm surprised the E Street Band actually played through this mess without stopping to offer him a Pepto Bismol or at least a cold cloth for his forehead. Honestly, I always think he's about to burst a blood vessel.

And last and least is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” I’m not a big Mariah Carey fan. She acts like the crazy hootchie at the PTA meetings who dresses in skirts with inappropriate hemlines and throws herself at your husband when she thinks you’re not looking. I can’t seem to separate her from her music, so I hate this song.

Yes, I know, it’s #1 on iTunes. You people are all insane.

TOM: This song being number 1 on iTunes reinforces my opinion that people should be more carefully screened before they can drive, vote, and have children.


TOM: Although, she was also one of the top TRL moments of all time for her meltdown. I can put up with the awful Christmas music if we keep getting the train wrecks. Ms. Spears! You are up next!

TRACY: But she had to go and “get better” on us. Sheesh. Although Jayne on eHarlequin just told me Jessica Simpson has a new Christmas album called “Rejoyce.” And as Jayne so brilliantly asked, “Who is Joyce?” I think we’ll have to give it a listen for next year.

Also, JV on eHarlequin sent me this little gem on YouTube, called “I Farted on Santa’s Lap.” Which is so revolting, I think all mall Santas across the country should be given legal permission by the Supreme Court to drop kick any child OFF their laps whose manners are this bad. And then open up a can of Dr. Phil on any parents who condone this sort of behavior with their egregious lack of discipline and refusal to instill consequences for public rudeness. UGH!

There’s also some talk on about some kids singing about wanting a hippo for Christmas, but I decided we should save that one until next year, too, because I just can’t take anymore of this.

Until then, may your radio deejays have the wherewithal to not inflict you with these abominations this holiday season!

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Tracy Montoya writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

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