Friday, November 26, 2010

2010's Sounds of the Season

Every year, as detailed last year, I put together a mix of holiday songs by rock bands. Let's face it, most holiday music lacks. If I'm going to have some holiday music in my home, I want it to be music I would invite in and offer a drink. But any scan of the usual holiday selections doesn't fit the bill.

As a household that heartily celebrates Chrismukkah, I always try to mix it up. Christmas songs are easy to find. I try to supplement that with some general winter songs (not hard) and some Hanukkah songs. That is becoming a challenge.

First of all, the idea here is to find bands people have heard of for the mix. There are plenty of Hanukkah rock songs, but many are by bands who no one knows. Also, and I'm allowed to say this because I'm Jewish... one would think with all the Levines and Schwartzs running around record label offices, we might have a decent new Hanukkah song every now and then. One would be wrong.

But I digress...

Anyhow, after trolling iTunes and other venues, here are this year's selections:

1) Weezer - We Wish You a Merry Christmas
2) Jet - Back Door Santa
3) The Killers - Happy Birthday Guadalupe
4) Huffamoose - Hanukkah and Christmas Hand in Hand
5) U2 - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
6) Sarah McLachlan - Happy Xmas (War is Over)
7) Pete Yorn - Do They Know It's Christmas
8) Collective Soul - Blue Christmas
9) Julian Casablancas - I Wish It Was Christmas Today
10) Band of Horses - The First Song
11) Jack Johnson - Someday at Christmas
12) R.E.M. - Merry Xmas Everybody
13) Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Christmas All Over Again
14) Belle and Sebastian - O Come, O Come Emmanuel
15) Tori Amos - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
16) Billy Mack (aka Bill Nighy) - Christmas is All Around

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The country leans right. No, I mean geographically.

Ever have something you don't believe in until you see it? I mean something you absolutely deny exists until it's handed to you on a platter?

I always thought the "East Coast Bias" was a myth.

It's not.

By the time I had dinner last night, the news stories I was seeing linked to on Twitter (I didn't watch any TV coverage of the election as I don't want to support the blowhard pundits on either side) were speaking in broad strokes about the election results and what great changes were upon us and blah blah blah and...

...polls were still open here. And in Oregon. And in California. And in Colorado. And in Nevada...

It warrants pointing out that democrats won Senate seats (or appear to have) in all of those states. Some of them heavily contested. But the news was all over the results on the East Coast first and painting trends in broad brushstrokes. I imagine someone on TV, at some point, had some throwaway line about "Well, we'll see what's going to happen out west," before launching into another 22-minute yelling-fest that didn't even take the west into account.

I wonder what the narrative would've been if the night had opened with western polls closing first and the string of democrat wins? I'd like to say things would have been more reserved, but I doubt it. Years of watching TV has me convinced it would have been written off as "those left coast liberals," likely uttered by someone who maybe once traveled to LA or something.

Sports, too. In July, I attended a San Francisco Giants game this year. The Giants were 1) in second place, trying to find their way and 2) playing on a COLD night where vendors walked around with hot chocolate and people were wrapped in blankets. IN JULY. On a Wednesday night.

I tell you I have never been to a rowdier regular season baseball game. It was packed. The fans were into the game all night from the opening pitch to the last.

And yet, as the baseball playoffs dawned, I had to hear reports about how San Fran "isn't all that great of a baseball town."

Perhaps if a few of these sports experts in places like Florida wanted to stay up past their bedtimes, they might know better.

These are just two examples, but I could go on. There are examples in news and sports almost daily.

I'm not saying this is all bad. After all, while TV lines up sports to air to meet that big east coast audience, I get to watch the end of the "late" game and go have dinner. And, to the election, while everyone was all atwitter (fine, pun intended...) about the election, I was able to sit and look at a larger view and be much more calm about things.

It's just funny that after years of denying there was such a thing as a bias toward the east coast, it has taken less than a year out here to see how much it really exists.