Monday, December 25, 2006

Jump Back Kiss Myself!!

The Christmas morning news is not great. With all deference to the soldiers (more bloodshed there, unfortunately), the Pope, Allah, and Bob Shepard (the voice of God), the great club in the sky just got a little funkier. The Godfather of Soul has joined them. Good God! Hurt Me! James Brown was about the only person who could get whites to say, “I’m Black and I’m Proud.” He was the original “Sex Machine.”

James Brown died in Atlanta early this morning at the age of 73. Papa’s got a brand new bag now!

So have you opened the presents yet? Santa was as good to me as the finances would allow. No complaints here. I’m breathing and I have the best wife and son, so I’m – yes –-a happy guy.

Christmas Eve at my brother’s house was great. The food was good and the mood was even better. My sister gave me one of the nicest things ever – a scrapbook that she made with pictures of my family and me from when I was young. I was very touched by the effort, and her inscription. Still, as we all know, the holidays are about The Son (Sean), who was eating up every minute of the presents, and playing with his cousins, of whom he has many!

Since we’re onto music, I have to tell you that our family picked up three CD’s so far – I got Johnny Colla’s “Lucky Devil” and the wife (Sandi, or Sandra – take your pick) got Gnarls Barkley “St. Elsewhere” and The Killers “Sam’s Town.” OK, so we bought them for each other, but you get the idea.

Johnny Colla, for those who don’t know, has been a main part of Huey Lewis and The News for about 28 years now. He finally took some time to record his own CD; with a band he calls The Lucky Devils. You won’t find it in the average store, but Amazon has it. It’s quite good – old-fashioned rock with some old-school pop sprinkled in. Johnny will also be remembered fondly in the Adams house for spending a few minutes chatting with The Wife, some friends, my cousin Kris and me in Poughkeepsie following an HLN show at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center. He and band mate Stef Burns were very accommodating – posing for countless pictures as well. Stef, Sandi, and I talked about cameras for a few minutes, believe it or not.

Gnarls Barkley’s CD is really quite brilliant. Those who have heard the ubiquitous “Crazy” know what I mean. That is – if you’re not sick of it.

Then there’s The Killers. Every time I’ve offered a review up, The Wife has almost taken offense. I mean no harm when I say that much of their music sounds the same. There’s nothing wrong with hard-driving pop that doesn’t reinvent the wheel. I compared it to comfort food – you know what you’re getting with them. As soon as I heard “When You Were Young”, I immediately said that it sounded just like “Mr. Brightside.” There’s nothing wrong with that. When you’ve got a great hook, stay with it. “Sam’s Town” carries that legacy. Some reviews thought The Killers DID spread their wings with the new CD, but I disagree. Again, nothing wrong with them staying with what works. Heck, even the Christmas song that I just heard from them, “A Great Big Sled”, had elements of “Mr. Brightside” in it. No harm, people. Just know that The Beatles legacy is still safe, OK?

It was refreshing to listen to all of these CD’s and not listen to Christmas tunes. The shame is that I enjoy holiday music, especially eclectic offerings, but the all-Christmas radio stations, who start playing the joyous tunes just after Halloween, along with the Muzak pumping through department stores and malls, just wears me out.

Oh, while on the subject of holiday music, WGCH is playing tunes today – many, if not most, do that on Christmas. In between, various staff members offer their warm holiday greetings. You won’t be hearing me on ‘GCH though, since I didn’t get the memo until Saturday morning. Unfortunately, somehow, I’m easily forgotten on Dayton Ave. Out of site, out of mind. The truth is, they could have taken my greeting from any other year, because all I ever do is change the date –

“Hi, this is Rob Adams, Sports Director at WGCH. I just want to take a moment to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, and peace in 2007.”

Or something like that. It’s a tried and true formula. I hate “Happy New Year.” It sounds so lame. But since I’m trying to be more upbeat, I won’t offer my thoughts on New Years Eve and the whole idea of a New Year. Well maybe I will – do the words “bah” and “humbug” mean anything? My father, and many others, called it “Amateur Night” for a reason. To sum it up – this is why it is so lame to me: I can celebrate anything. Hey – Happy July 10th at 10:24 PM and 15 seconds! Why not? It’s actually my least favorite day of the year (it’s just so stupid), but The Wife and I have begun our own tradition that has made it not only tolerable, but fun. We basically ignore the fact that it’s New Year’s Eve. That’s right – no idiotic ball, no Dick Clark, no Seacrest, and for the love of God – no “Auld Lang Syne.” Jesus, I hated Guy Lombardo for years! It’s very hard to believe that he was once one of the more brilliant big band orchestra leaders because all we ever associate him with is that stupid song, which only became stupid after he introduced it at a New Year’s Eve party in 1929.

So The Wife and I might watch a few movies, listen to lots of music, talk, laugh, eat lots of finger foods (little hot dogs, pizza, mozzarella sticks – you get the idea), and when midnight hits, you barely know it. In fact, the only way you know it is when our antique electric clock chimes away. Those who have joined us call it if not the best party, certainly the most intelligent one. Oh yeah, frosty refreshments also are served.

One other thing, and this is the God’s honest truth. I have only, honestly, truly been drunk once in my life – New Year’s Eve 2004. Not drunk enough to be sick, but drunk enough that I knew I couldn’t operate a car. I stopped, and went to bed. Like I said, it’s called “Amateur Night” for a reason. The next day I was in an apartment full of people who prayed to porcelain gods. I was the only one who got up, showered, ate breakfast, and was ready to function. Somebody had to take care of The Son!

Sorry – I went on a tangent.

So how’s this for updating, eh? You’ve complained, and your complaints have been heard…for now…until the next time I get yelled at for being in front of the computer too much.

Now onto the rest of the day. Peace and joy to you all, and raise a glass to the Godfather of Soul.

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