Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tis the Season

So during my annual trek north for Thanksgiving with the family I came to the realization that radio stations between Huntsville and Corsicana suck and suck hard. There are exactly two types of radio station out there in that dark territory: country and Christian. Initially I held out some hope that one of the country stations crapping up my, okay our, airwaves would play some classic country. I could get into some Johnny, Willie, Merle, or Hank (the original not the sequels, although the third one is intriguing). No such luck. All of the country stations were playing this faux pop country brought to us by the likes of the Un-Patriotic Dirty Tramps, Faith Hill, and Mr. Achy Breaky himself Billy Ray Cyrus. The other option was even less appealing as I have known for years that I am a bad person who needs to get around to changing his Devil-ways before The End comes (ArmaGettinItOn, if you know what I mean) so I don’t need so fired up preacher man screaming at me about it or some woman with the I’m on the verge of crying softness in her voice pitying me and my sinful life as I drive to Dallas (actually Midlothian for you purists), thank you very much. There was one channel broadcasting a high school football game, but the quality was so poor that even with my propensity for becoming emotionally invested in games I know nothing about I had to roll on to another channel.

Mind you this was all on the FM side of the dial. Over on the AM side there is a third type of radio station out there, lurking in the darkness: Tejano. Good gods. I’ll cop to enjoying the occasional bit of accordion music, but these folks are wild about it. I even heard a remake of the Five Man Electrical Band classic “Signs” performed in Spanish; with accordion. Holy defecation Batman, this is truly dark territory.

Finally I stumbled across one lone radio station that was on a mission from God. That mission? To play holiday music 24-7 until who knows when.

This presented a very special challenge for me. The challenge was to control the homicidal rage that swelled within my breast and not hunt down to director of programming for the radio station and harm him in very, VERY Medieval ways.

Have I mentioned before that I have a special dislike for holiday music?

My dislike for holiday music is two-fold:

First the whole Christmas season kind of bothers me. We have taken what should be a very spiritual and special day of contemplation for Christians and turned it into a month-long Mardi Gras of spending and consuming. We even have fights the day after Thanksgiving because people are so eager to start saving money.

Second starting sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving the holiday music starts. This wouldn’t be so bad if it consisted of more than 30 songs recorded by everyone who managed to get behind a microphone. Now there are some interesting and skilled renderings of these songs out there that I can appreciate on an artistic level, however the same 30 songs over and over and over and over and over? Are you serious? Maybe if we broke these songs out the week before Christmas I would be more disposed to enjoy the music of the season, but as it is I feverently PRAY for the 26th so all the Christmas compilation albums will finally get put away.

Last year was particularly rough and broke me on Christmas music for the foreseeable future. As a general rule we could not listen to the CD player in my department (this was at UCS not my current job) during work hours. The one exception was during the Christmas season during which we could listen to Christmas music. This past year we listened to EXACTLY two CDs. One of the Chipmunk Christmas CDs (I don’t know which one, but sweet monkey Jesus I didn’t realize there were so many until I did an Amazon search to provide a link) and some mix CD one of the girls had made. Off of the mix CD we listened to primarily one song: My Only Wish (This Year) as performed by Britney Spears from the Platinum Christmas CD (which actually has a really good recording of Little Drummer Boy by Jars of Clay.)

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario.

For approximately 8 hours a day we listened to the Chipmunks and then would listen to Britney three or four times before filling an hour with other music after which we would return to the Chipmunks. This happened every day of the week from the Monday after Thanksgiving until the day before Christmas vacation started. To low ball and estimate this means I heard the Chipmunks CD five times a day and the Britney Spears song 15 times a day.


Even Dante did not devise so cruel a torture.

I actually complained to my boss to no avail. I considered playing the religious card, but suspected that would get laughed off. If I was an enemy combatant taken in uniform I could have complained to Amnesty International or the Red Cross. I mean Britney Spears and the Chipmunks? I get all Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder twitchy just writing about it. Ahhhh! God I can hear the music now! Make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!

(Incidentally my favorite Christmas song is “The Rebel Jesus” by Jackson Browne and The Chieftains from The Bells of Dublin album. Check it out.)

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