A Full Day (12/22/16): Doctor Zhivago, a Bad Joke, My Christmas Music Edicts and Handel’s Pastoral


“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.” Jim Valvano

Today is December 22, 2016, the 357th day of the year.

On this day in 1965, the movie Doctor Zhivago premiered in New York City.



What do you call persons afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic!



Ok, it’s the season of Christmas and because of it, I hear countless hours of Christmas music on the radio. I have decided that if I were emperor for a day, I would enact the following edicts concerning Christmas music:

*Nat King Cole can sing any Christmas song he wishes. This includes O Tannenbaum in German. Heck, if he wanted to sing in Russian, I’d let him.

*Karen Carpenter can sing any Christmas ballad. (Lord, that child died too young)

*No Beatle will have a Christmas song. Nor will the Beach Boys.

*Burl Ives is the only singer of “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”

*Jimmy Durante is the only singer of “Frosty the Snowman”

*White Christmas and It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas can only be sung by Bing Crosby


*Let It Snow can only be sung by Dean Martin, who can pick any female partner to sing Baby It’s Cold Outside.

*Michael Buble needs to stop singing other people’s songs and find his own.

*Amy Grant can only sing “Breath of Heaven”

*More Mannheim Steamroller please.

*Perry Como, wait, no grown man should sing  the word “Mommy”

*Santa Baby must be sung by Eartha Kitt.

*While it would be proper for The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) to be sung by Nat King Cole, Mel Torme would be acceptable also, since he was a co-writer.

*Only Gene Autry can sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

*LeAnn Rimes should be ashamed for putting out a version of “I Want a Hippopotamus” and will be imprisoned for such a crime.

*Sleigh Ride should be instrumental only and the percussionists should be paid double in royalties.



For me, it’s one of the most moving pieces I hear during the Christmas season: Pastoral Symphony from George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. The chorus has just sung the movement “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” complete with all manner of fugues and trumpets and timpani and double-dotted rhythms portraying the King of Kings.

The chorus then sits and this simple string movement begins. The bass plays a series of long, sustained notes over which the violins, violas and cellos set this musical setting of a serene Nativity scene. It played well, one can imagine a cloudless, star-filled night with an occasional trill by the violins that portray the neighing of the horses of the bleating of the sheep.

Each time I hear it, I am placed at the manger scene and my thoughts turn to what I imagine there – and I weep tears of joy.


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