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Padre Steve’s White Christmas

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I don’t do much singing nor do I play a musical instrument but I have been listening to nothing on the radio the past several days except Christmas music on the Sirius XM Sounds of the Season channel. I have stopped, for the next couple of weeks listening to sports talk radio, news and political commentary and even my beloved 1970s music. One song that appears quite regularly is the classic is Irving Berlin’s White Christmas which was first recorded by Bing Crosby for the 1942 film Holiday Inn. The song was released shortly after the Pearl Harbor attack by Crosby and has become a staple of Christmas.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yg5g_Xl-uU

It is really quite Amazing, the song is the most recorded song on this planet, and possibly even on the Klingon Home World in the future, of course it will be the Twisted Sister Version that makes number one on the Klingon Charts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2JdsZ0fSr8

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When it was released in 1942 White Christmas sold over 30 million copies and remained number one on the Pop and R&B charts for 10 weeks. It remained the number one single in its initial release for over 50 years when Elton John released his Candle in the Wind 1997 written and performed for the funeral of Diana Princess of Wales. There is controversy about this as White Christmas was re-released by Decca in 1945 and 1946 and the totals for all are estimated at over 50 million copies as opposed to the 33 million of Candle in the Wind 1997. The song is the only song to ever reach the number one position on the pop charts three separate times.

The song has been recorded over 500 times by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Ernest Tubbs, Elvis Presley, Andy Williams, the Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Chicago, Otis Redding, Barbara Streisand and even Twisted Sister.

The Drifters version was the first appeared on the R&B chart before crossing over to the pop charts. However it was little known until it was used in 1990 film Home Alone. 

1996-drifters

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgGcrvApljY

A classic country rendition of the song was done by the legendary Ernest Tubb. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNzvUh-tJRY while Elvis Presley recorded hit in 1957  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3shhn_elvis-presley-white-christmas_music 

 

Many others recorded it as well, some include Andy Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PVfVUiZ-0ERod Stewart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EvQOmjXCxcBette Midler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYswJUHZG0gBarbara Streisand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyfYDOvPgcQ, Otis Redding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwCcVRH8idA Dean Martin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubi18WX3w6c Tony Bennett http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQpc2w1oWp0 and Frank Sinatra: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m3YOr8RIIo

Many more contemporary singers and groups have recored this classic. Bob Marley and the Whalers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEfGeOcQiQM  Rascal Flatts  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMi1R96wfdA, Elton John http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEOG66l1BY Chicago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_3-JIOuLiMMichael Bolton:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrf9weGDCxE, Michael Buble  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDwFehTaiuw , Kelly Clarkson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCl7-0dMOzs , the Celtic Women http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcEsypy6tIE, CeeLo Green http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZLZHIrkG7w  , Diana Krall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS0K5R46vvM, Taylor Swift http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZhdTxgnLTE  Lady Gaga http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy1Yxng6IGA 

So my friends, enjoy a very White Christmas!

Peace

Padre Steve+

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A Trip to the Home World, Tithing on the Speed Limit, a Tooth Joins the Ranks of the Undead and a Giant No Hitter

Yesterday we made a trip back to my family’s home world, also known as Huntington West Virginia. As far as home worlds go it is probably on no one’s top ten lists, probably ranking about as high as Qo’noS, the Klingon home world in terms of places that you would go to on holiday.  However it is my family’s ancestral home for the past 200 plus years since coming from Scotland, Ireland and France.  Now I was not born in West Virginia, though my parents were born there as were three of my four grandparents.  I was actually the first of my generation born outside of the state as my dad was still in the beginning stages of his Navy career and was stationed at Naval Air Station Alameda California and I was born at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in California.  Even so Huntington was a place that served as a touchstone for our lives as my dad was transferred from one place to another on the west coast.  We would return almost every summer, usually travelling by train in the days before Amtrack.  Back then three of four grandparents as well as one set of great grandparents we still alive along with a butt-load of aunts, uncles and cousins.  In 4th grade we lived there while my dad found us suitable housing in Long Beach California after being transferred from Washington State. That was the year of three schools and four teachers for me, but I digress.

It was during that year that my great grandfather died and my grandfather was diagnosed with a golf ball sized yet benign brain tumor.  It was also the adjustment form the kinder and gentler west coast schools to a much stricter standard in Huntington.  I was also as we had come in from Long Beach I was nicknamed “City Slicker” and had to fight for my life.  A couple of school yard brawls later which I cannot say that I won but in which I gave good account of myself I was accepted so far as a “City Slicker” could be.  The thing was though that I had lived in a town of only about 8,000 inhabitants for 4 years prior to moving to Long beach for just over a month.  The kids in Huntington were far more “City Slicker” than little old me.  I had poor penmanship because in Kindergarten my teacher took the pencil out of my left hand and stuck it in my right hand.  This was of no comfort when my teacher whacked my hand with a steel ruler since my penmanship was so bad.  What good this did I have no idea except to maybe set me back two more years.  I don’t think I ever left the dining room table due to the amount of homework that she assigned.  During my time in Huntington we lived across from the old Fairfield Stadium where the Marshall University football team played.  I saw the team work out in the spring practices of 1970, the same team killed in the plane crash on 14 November of that year.  We returned to Long Beach that summer where when I started 5th grade I was known as “Kentucky Fried.”  Despite that I was happy to get back out west.  After my Clinical Pastoral Care Education Residency in Dallas I got my first full time hospital chaplain job at Cabell-Huntington Hospital which I held as a full time contractor until I was mobilized for the Bosnia mission in 1996.  During this time and while I was deployed Judy got to know my relatives better than me.  I went into the Navy in West Virginia and due to this we remain West Virginia residents for Tax and Voting purposes.  We came back to get our driver’s licenses renewed and see our dear friend Patty.

The visit this time has been pretty miserable for me as last night the tooth which was recently excavated for the second time as discovered to be cracked beyond repair decided to come back from the dead.  I didn’t get to sleep until about 0230 and woke up again at 0415 before getting back to sleep at 0600. The alarm rank at 0700 and after getting Judy up, we talked and I went back to bed where I slept until 1230.  It took 2 Ultram, 1 800 mg Motrin and a couple of beers with lunch to get the pain under control.  Tonight I will probably do the same and go to bed early.  In the morning I will have to call the Dental Department at the hospital to see what they want me to do.  We don’t travel back until Wednesday and I don’t know if I can take much more of this.  It seems to me that my tooth has taken a page from Dracula and joined the ranks of the undead.  This really sucks like a Hoover.

The trip here was long, we had the usual snarl on I-64  from Newport News until past Williamsburg, and thankfully the HRBT was not congested.  We picked up more slow traffic between Staunton and Lexington.  Now I am bothered by people who drive slower than the posted speed limit in the fast lane.  I trained on the Los Angeles Freeways and the German Autobahn.  My view is that the speed limit is a suggestion for the less skilled drivers and those who have trained on high speed roads should be exempt from it.  Now I am not a total scofflaw. I do not drive unsafely, weave in and out of traffic or fail to signal.  Likewise I know about how fast I can go without drawing the attention of the State Police.  Since radar detectors are illegal in Virginia one has to become very adept at this cat and mouse game and I am amazed at the number of people who get pulled over because they don’t understand the simple art of nuance.  In most states you can safely drive about 10 percent over the speed limit on the Interstate without getting ticketed.  This is a little different on the major travel holidays in Virginia where there is about a 5 mph tolerance.  I do this routinely and refer to it as “tithing” on the speed limit.  Of course there are times that I need to give more than my tithe and go a bit faster.  Our GPS “Lilith” has a conscious about such things and would alarm when I did this forcing me to silence her.

There was also cause for rejoicing as the first half of the baseball season came to an end.  The Norfolk Tides are tied for fist in the International League South, the San Francisco Giants have surprised everyone by playing great ball with solid pitching and now are in second place in the National League West and currently have the 3rd best record in the league behind the Evil Dodgers and one percentage point behind the East leading Phillies.  To really make things great Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.  It was almost a perfect game save for a booted ground ball and error by Giants Third Baseman Juan Uribe with 1 out in the bottom of the 8th and Center Fielder Aaron Rowland saved the no-hitter with a leaping catch at the wall for the second out in the top of the ninth.  Both of these show that even when a pitcher pitches a no-hitter it is a team effort.  I had seen the next to last Giant no-hitter in person with my dad and brother back on August 24th 1975 when Ed Halicki shut down the New York Mets at Candlestick.  Not a bad way for the Giants to go into the All-Star break.

Anyway it is time to self medicate for the night and try to get some sleep.  Pray for me a sinner.

Peace, Steve

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