The island could be developed in a way that maybe we could finally put the welcome mat out for being a state. Maybe the logistics are too daunting. But it's a nice thought, right?
My Christmas song is inspired by the star of Bethlehem. You'll see a Nativity image on the YouTube screen. And BTW let's acknowledge Gulsvig Productions of Starbuck for getting my songs online. If you have any media transfer work to be done, contact the Gulsvigs.
Our family lived in Starbuck for a few months when coming to the Morris area in 1960. We lived next door to the Samuelsons. They referred to our residence as "the Nelson cabin." They had a collie dog named "Rexall," named for their drugstore franchise. Many years later I'd get re-acquainted with Donnie Samuelson when we both ran 10Ks. I still remember the laundromat with the stuffed animals! In Morris we'd get a business with the same reputation: Benson Drug with Carl Benson as the owner.
Let the light inspire
My song suggests that the light of the original star of Bethlehem might bathe the suffering people of Puerto Rico, that they might find divine strength and inspiration from it. The Nativity story has always appealed to me. The peace and tranquility appeal to me. One of my past Christmas songs is about the Little Drummer Boy, specifically the Rankin-Bass TV special about the Drummer Boy story. Did you know the Little Drummer Boy is not in the Bible? The TV special always made me misty at the end.
As a kid I'd have to make sure to watch the special at the announced time on TV - there were no VHS tapes yet. That was the nature of TV then: you'd better be sure to watch a certain show at the appointed time. If you missed it (or had to take an extended bathroom break during it), you might figure you're out of luck for ever seeing it. Isn't that something? In those old days we talked about "re-runs." For some reason, the "first run" of any show had special prestige as if subsequent re-runs (or the whole summer viewing season) were quite second-rate. Today our seemingly boundless TV universe is packed with programming that is quite re-cycled. We don't judge it as being old or stale. We just choose what we want to watch, and it might be a Star Trek episode from the late 1960s on the BBC America channel.
The original Star Trek will live forever. How on earth could that show have ever gotten "cancelled?" Remember the Saturday Night Live parody of when Star Trek got cancelled, with Elliott Gould as the network executive? His vehicle appears in the window of the Starship Enterprise. Someone asks "what's that?" The answer was "a '68 Chrysler." I remember the actor playing "Sulu" stammered on one of his lines. The skit concluded with a totally dated line, a mystery to today's young generation if not 95 per cent of the public. The Captain Kirk character recites "Live long and prosper," then gestures with his fingers and says "promise." That was a takeoff on the Promise Margarine commercials that William Shatner did on TV.
The original Star Trek TV series has never been replicated properly in all the other franchises of the concept. The show fell off some in its quality in its last year due to budget restraints, but that final year was a blessing in that enough episodes got "in the can" for the show to later go into syndication. And the rest is history: Star Trek in syndication! It sure lasted better than "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea."
I hope you take the time to listen to my 2017 Christmas song, and to feel the warmth of the Nativity spirit.
A favored holiday for me
I much prefer Christmas to Easter. Easter is an uplifting time only in the sense that Christ ultimately triumphs over his torture and crucifixion. I hate the Good Friday portion of the whole Easter thing. Is it because of Mel Gibson that we now get so much emphasis on Christ's torture? I hate it: the seeming sadism aspect. I hate it so much, every spring I write a blog post that suggests I'm an atheist. Essentially I'm not an atheist because I do believe in a creator. Maybe I'm spiritual in the same sense as the Ojibway Indians.
Well, now's the time to slow down and let the benevolent spirit of Christmas settle in. Let's hope the people of Puerto Rico can get past their adversity. I certainly think this would be better accomplished with a Democratic president rather than Donald Trump. I greatly admire Carmen Yulin Cruz, that valiant mayor of San Juan. Maybe she should have been Time Magazine's Person of the Year.
The nature of the media today makes it hard for any new Christmas song to break through as a classic. We had much more of a shared culture before. I suppose there were "big shots" determining what Christmas songs would be popular and famous. But why did they anoint "Jingle Bell Rock" that way?
An apple, but not close to the tree?
My late father was a prolific composer of music. He never encouraged me to try to develop that craft. He wanted to teach me hunting and fishing. I follow my own drummer as a songwriter now. I invite you to locate my YouTube page and listen to my other songs there.
By writing topical songs, I'm assured of getting a decent audience for many of my songs. That's because people do Internet searches with key words related to the various topics I've written about, like the Armistice Day blizzard of 1940. If I were to write a simple relationship song, it would be hard breaking through to get listeners. I actually have one such song: "It's Been So Long."
Regardless of what I have recorded, I love the process of creating poetry and lyrics. My straight poetry is shared on my blogs like my poem about the 1962 New York Mets or baseball player Rusty Staub! (Wasn't "Rusty" the name of a kid character on the old Danny Thomas TV sitcom?)
Merry Christmas to all in this mild winter of 2017. Climate change?
We share the Christmas spirit in this atmosphere of trepidation caused by the Donald Trump presidency. We celebrate it in the atmosphere of suddenly elevated concern about sexual harassment. The whole "patriarchy" is being called into question. Is Santa Claus a part of that? I remember fondly the times I photographed Lois Smith as "Mrs. Santa" when I worked for the Morris Sun Tribune newspaper.
My most famous photo might have been of Laura Carrington joining Gary Findlay at Gary's victory celebration at Sunwood Inn, marking his election to the state legislature. Laura had previously been a Democrat! We miss Laura. She had no aversion to sharing her political views. I miss covering the various Christmas-related events around Morris, including Santa's arrival in Donnelly! And to all a good night.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org