Wednesday, November 11, 2009

what the world is missing?/Veteran's Day/Christmas tune-age

Back again. Between work, church, Bible study, trying to sort through the disaster area that is my bedroom and bathroom and just generally slacking off, I seem to keep forgetting my blog.

I've decided to establish a bit of a theme for my blog, to keep me coming back to it...keep the ball rolling, so to speak. Yesterday I was reading a blog on Conversant Life and stumbled across this funny post about cheesy/bizarre album covers. One of the covers shown gave credit to a website, Being a lover of all things bizarre and music-related, I had to check it out. It's been a source of amusement, but I admit I'm saddened to find that most of the crazy vinyl album covers listed on the website are the work of forgotten gospel groups and evangelists. There are SIX selections from Tammy Faye Bakker and her family listed, to give you an obvious example. I was glad to see that no one has dug up anything from the archives of the Roberts family...yet.

We Christians are a peculiar people, indeed...but to our credit, I think everyone looked strange back in the era of vinyl. Heck, I'm already laughing at photos of my friends and myself from a decade ago.

Without further ado, here is today's Strange Album Art, brought to you by The Griffin Family Singers.

Yes, it's painfully funny and embarrassing...but I have to agree with this fashion-impaired family that nonbelievers truly don't know what they're missing -- and it has nothing to do with following the latest styles.

It would be out of line for me to blog on Veteran's Day and not thank our vets for the sacrifices they've made to preserve our freedom. In this day and age, I wonder how many more Veteran's Days we'll have before we forget what it's like to be free. So thank you Floyd, Lowell, Ray, Daddy and everyone else who has served in our military. Whether you've fought for us overseas or guarded us stateside, we would be lost without you.

Christmas is about six weeks away, and I'm getting uber excited about it. A decade or so ago, my mom gave away/sold a basket full of Christmas cassette tapes we'd been listening to every year since the mid-1980s. We had finally joined the digital age and we had no use for tapes anymore -- huzzah! For a family that always seems to catch up on the tail-end of technology, CDs were the wave of the future as the new millennium approached. However, two of our favorite Christmas tapes, which we later regretted parting with, have been nearly impossible to find on CD/MP3 until recently.

To quote the liner notes, "Inside Fezziwig's...the Spirit of Christmas Past" by Ed Sweeney is a collection of "reels, waltzes, rounds, jigs and slip jigs ... perhaps, something you may have heard if you were at Fezziwig's party (in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol")." In 1990, my parents picked up this album on tape in the Amana Colonies, after my dad heard it playing in one of the shops and fell in love with it.

The last couple of Christmases have gone by with us wondering where we could find "Inside Fezziwig's..." again. Mom and I did some digging on Amazon and learned that it was released on CD in 1994 and later discontinued by its manufacturer, Kicking Mule Records. Only one copy was available on Amazon. The seller was willing to part with for the low price of just $94.25. Meh. We looked elsewhere on the Internet and found that a handful of brand new copies were being sold on, a place out of Denver that sells hard-to-find music and memorabilia. We prayed the site was legit and ordered the CD, which arrived about a week later in mint condition. With shipping and handling, it cost only about 20 bucks. It sounds better than ever, now that all three of us have it on our iPods in crystal-clear digital format :)

I just searched for "Inside Fezziwig's..." again on Amazon and found that another used copy of the CD has been put up for sale...only $35. I'm glad Mom and I didn't wait for that one.

"Music Box Christmas," from the collection of Rita Ford, is another album we've sorely missed. Mom had "Music Box Christmas" on a vinyl record, which slipped out of her hands in the early '80s. She and Daddy later found it on tape at our hometown Disc Jockey (which closed in the late '90s and is now known elsewhere as FYE). Over the years since we discarded our Christmas tapes, we've bought at least two CDs that appeared to be the long-lost "Music Box Christmas" -- only to find they were sorry substitutes, recordings of cheap, tinny music boxes fit for the shelves of a dollar store.

Amazon came to the rescue this time. After reading the customer reviews (all of them positive) and listening to track previews, Mom downloaded the MP3 version of "Music Box Christmas" from Amazon. Listening to it brings back such sweet memories of decorating the tree and learning to wrap presents on the living room floor in our old farmhouse.

As much as I love the pubescent holiday cheer of Hanson's "Snowed In" and the stripped-down, folksy melodies of Sufjan Stevens' "Songs for Christmas," "Inside Fezziwig's..." and "Music Box Christmas" are two of my favorite Christmas albums simply because of the memories they hold for me. They help me relive the years when everyone actually came home for Christmas, when Grandma and Grandpa's house was lit up and packed full of laughs and suitcases and enough food to last until my birthday (two weeks after Christmas). When I used to play with the porcelain Nativity set (the one with only two wise men because Balthazar got broken) on the hearth. When I used to trace patterns in the fog my breath left on the picture window, cut snowflakes out of typewriter paper, shake all the gifts with my name on them under a tree decked with crocheted angels and plastic candy canes and cookie-cutter ornaments covered in watercolor paint and glitter. You know, the kind you make from cookie dough that's not meant to be eaten. Do kids even make those anymore? Probably not. They're too busy writing letters to Santa, asking him for all the coolest toys with the most hard-drive memory, playing on the Wii in their Hannah Montana pj's and drinking Bug Juice.

Wow. That's a tangent if I ever heard one.

Well, now that I've done a thorough update and given you enough links to choke a Shetland pony*, I'd better get back to work. I still need to eat lunch. Today's menu: Stovetop Stuffing! Or Campbell's Chunky Soup! I know, we're such gourmet chefs. Mom and I need to make a Walmart run to finish our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, which have to be turned in by Sunday. Nothing like putting it off until the last minute. I need to figure out what I'm gonna do with all this crap that's taking up unnecessary space in my room and bathroom, and then vacuum, dust, and clean once I can see the floor and shelves again.

And at some point, I need to get an iTunes gift card so I can buy the New Moon soundtrack. Finish re-reading Twilight and New Moon before the 20th. And figure out who I'm gonna go with to see "New Moon." Because I'm just so popular in the tri-state area. Ha. Ha. Seriously, my phone is just ringing off the hook right now. And finally, I need to finish this strange to-do list so I can hit "publish post" and actually start my strange to-do list. OK. Hitting "publish post." Right. Now.

*no Shetland ponies or other animals were harmed in the writing of this blog


osborn455 said...

Dollars to donuts one of those ConversantLife members is a Digger. I took those exact steps yesterday: followed the link, noted the url, and put my curiosities behind the wheel. Peas in a pod, you and me.

Thank you Dad, Uncle Mike, John and Nick, and the rest of my peers for your service and sacrifice in protecting our nation.


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