Tag Archives: santa

Holiday Santacular!

1284487009_bottom_krampusThe Stranger celebrates the holidays with four hours of radio; celebrating New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Saturnalia, and our recent triumph over Doomsday — all in one! We’ll review the past year’s current events, look forward to the progress of tomorrow, and how we might just be doomed after all. Then, we’ll finally get to hear from the fabled South Side Santa once again, to discuss FOX’s War on Christmas and other festive topics, all set to the traditional sounds of Yule.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-29: Santacular! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

Yuri-G – PJ Harvey
Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis
Teotihuacan -Noel Gallagher
Christmassteps -Mogwai
Sweet Leaf -Black Sabbath
The Little Drummer Boy -Jimi Hendrix
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen -Dio
He Loved Him Madly (Bill Laswell Mix) -Miles Davis
The Stars Are Projectors -Modest Mouse
Something Bells -Daedelus
Winter in America -Gil Scott-Heron
Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring -Leo Kottke
New Year’s Eve – Tom Waits

In the Hall of the Mountain King – Wagner
O Tannenbaum – They Might Be Giants
Saturn, Bringer of Old Age – New York Philharmonic
Historia Der Geburt Jesu Christi: Recitative: Und Er Stund Auf
Riu, Riu, Chiu
O Viergo Virginum
Winter – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
Sinfonia in G (from ‘Christmas Oratorio’) – Johannes Bach
Sonata: Padouana a 5 – Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh
Sinfonia – Geza Oberfrank & Hungarian Radio Choir & Failoni Chamber Orchestra
Pavane – Pierre Attaingnant
Christe Redemptor a 4 – William Byrd
Die winter ist Verganghen
Crions Noel – Alexander Agricola
A Mery Moode
Robin Hoode – Mr. Ascue
Twenty Waies Upon The Bells – Thomas Robinson
Benedicta Es, Coelorum Regina
O vis aeternitatis – Ensemble Für Fruhe Musik Augsburg
Ave Maria – Franz Schubert
Recessional: “In Dulci Jubilo” – Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh
Gloucestershire Wassail – Loreena McKennitt
What Child is This – Vince Guaraldi
I Believe in Father Christmas – Emerson Lake and Palmer
Aud Lan Syne

Our economy won’t grow forever, of course, but we shouldn’t let the maniacs fly us over a cliff of their own making, just because they’re tied to the steering wheel and gas pedal in an insane game of chicken. The bastards will take us all down with them, and the poorest of us will be the first to perish. How’s that for some seasonal tidings?

The Republicans are the worst wagers of this war, and they just don’t care what the nation thinks about them. Their party is in disarray, public opinion of them couldn’t be worse, and they’re still acting like insane, moronic children. They are unfit to govern. While some of them may be beginning to accept reality, they have by and large, “out of touch with the American people,” according to John Weaver, a senior adviser to past presidential candidates John McCain. The polling suggests as much.

And when racists like Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are accepting awards from neo-confederate groups, and others are trying to leave the union, they don’t exactly paint a picture of rationality and moderation.

So people are taking matters into their own hands. Homeowners are threatening to foreclose on the banks. People are finding marijuana to be a much better substitute than risky prescription drugs for weaning themselves off of other dangerous addictions. Direct action and reasonable measures may win the day after all.

Even if the FBI spies on and oppresses progressive protest movements like Occupy. Even if that selfsame spy state tightens its grip. Even if so-called progressive leaders expand those powers and reach.

I believe the children are the future. Unfortunately, President Obama has had 178 children murdered in Pakistan and Yemen by U.S. drone strikes. He believes they are the past.

So our future is doomed. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to take it sitting down.

It wasn’t all bad news, just look at a few of the things that progressives accomplished in 2012:

  1. Historic progress to end the war on drugs.
  2. New fuel efficiency standards.
  3. Young undocumented immigrants received deportation relief.
  4. Anti-LGBT Senate candidates lost, in large numbers.
  5. President Obama endorsed marriage equality.
  6. Voters rejected anti-choice candidates.
  7. Voter suppression lost.
  8. The Supreme Court upheld Obamacare.

This wasn’t just a great year for Marijuana users, but a harrowing one for synthetic drug users who found the legal or quasi-legal stimulants like bath salts to be cheap alternatives to criminalized plants.

By 2012, amphetamine-type stimulants, including synthetic bath salt derivatives, had become more popular worldwide than either cocaine or heroin, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Then again, it was a tough year for labor, with some of the most contentious battles and anxiety-inducing headlines of the year:

  1. Hostess Blames Workers for Bankruptcy Caused by Executives
  2. Right-to-Work Laws Passed by Spiteful Conservatives
  3. Wisconsin Recall of Scott Walker Failed
  4. American Airlines Employees Rally to Protest Cuts
  5. NFL Referees Replaced by Pathetic Scabs
  6. Apple-Foxconn Factory Workers in China Committed Mass Suicide
  7. Chicago Teacher’s Union Strike
  8. Koch Brothers Funnel Billions into Right-Wing Causes and Candidates
  9. Obama Barely Mentions Labor in Debates
  10. WalMart Workers Protest
  11. Bangladesh Factory Fire Kills Workers
  12. Fast-food Workers Strike

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone announced his pick for ‘Biggest Wall Street Story of the Year’ to the massive Libor scandal.

“If it’s true that the 16 biggest banks in the world were fixing global interest rates, then it’s hard not to argue that that’s not the biggest financial corruption case in history,” Taibbi says in a web exclusive for Current TV. “I fully expect that we’ll find out in the end that American banks were involved in this scandal.”

It was also a big year for Anonymous, with their hacktivism against bad copyright laws, censorship, evil religious zealots and police brutality ending up some of the biggest tech news of 2012.

And WIRED collected their top picks for the biggest tech stories in review:

  1. Government Spybots!
  2. Bradley Manning Gets His Day in Court
  3. SOPA and PIPA
  4. Supreme Court Takes a Stand Against Warrantless GPS Tracking
  5. Megaupload Becomes Mega Headache for U.S. Government
  6. Sabu and the Crackdown on Anonymous
  7. Stuxnet and Flame Viruses
  8. Julian Assange Seeks Asylum
  9. Paula and Petraeus Affair
  10. John McAfee On the Lam!

And some of the most outrageous science fiction stories that became science fact in the news!

  1. A Cyborg Competes Against Able-Bodied Athletes at the Olympics
  2. NASA Starts to Work on a Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive
  3. Scientists Enhance the Intelligence of Primates with a Chip
  4. The Earth Experiences its First True Superstorm
  5. The World’s First Cybernetic Hate Crime Occurs at a McDonalds in France
  6. Augmented Reality Goes Mainstream
  7. Researchers Create a Robot With Legs That Can Run Faster Than any Human
  8. The First Successful Commercial Cargo Delivery to Space Goes Off Without a Hitch
  9. An Electric Car is the Year’s Best
  10. Doctors Communicate With a Man in a Coma
  11. The First Large-Scale Geoengineering Project is Detected Off Canada’s West Coast
  12. A Child Attends School By Sending a Robot in His Place
  13. A Paralyzed Woman Controls a Robotic Arm Using Only Her Mind
  14. Self-Driving Cars Become Legal in Three States
  15. Scientists Create an Artificial Retina
  16. Researchers Create the First Complete Computer Model of a Living Organism

And looking forward, here are the civil liberties cases the Supreme Court may tackle in 2013:

  1. Same-Sex Marriage
  2. Federal Voting Rights Authority
  3. Race in University Admissions
  4. Can Corporations Be Sued For Overseas Human Rights Abuses?
  5. Can For-Profit Corporations Patent Human Genes?
  6. Warrantless Drug Searches By Police
  7. Death Penalty Convicts’ Right To Attorneys
  8. Do Right-To-Know Laws Stop At State Lines?

Non-belief in religion grew to the third largest affiliation in the world, The Washington Post writes:

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent. Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent.

This translates to big problems for United States politicians, where around 20% of the electorate are atheist/agnostic. So if you’re religious, don’t bash or exclude those who aren’t. Stand up for separation of church and state. Stand up for marriage equality and reproductive choice. Stand up for science.

Reject the false prophets like Old Paths Baptist Church Pastor Sam Morris, Franklin Graham, Bryan Fischer of the American family Association, James Dobson who proselytize that atheism is to blame for atrocities like school shootings.

This and much worse discrimination against non-believers is prevalent around the world.

This anti-atheist discrimination is severe. It takes the form of being arrested. It takes the form of being imprisoned for years. It takes the form of being targeted by a mob screaming for your blood… and when the police who should be there to protect you show up, instead they throw you in jail in Egypt, Indonesia, Greece, India, Turkey, Tunisia…

It even takes the form of a powerful Christian majority blasting the atheist minority for waging a non-existent ‘War on Christmas.’ A ridiculous prospect anyway, since many of the holiday traditions we love have Pagan roots.

  1. Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Festivals.
  2. Candles & Lights
  3. Trees
  4. Yule Wreaths 
  5. Santa
  6. Mistletoe
  7. Holly 
  8. Feasting! 
  9. Gift Giving
  10. Hearth Fires and Yule Logs

And who is waging the real war on Christmas, when Santa is arrested for chalking good tidings on public sidewalks? He is a dirty liberal, after all. Ignoring supply-side economics to hand out ‘free stuff.’

A new Public Policy Polling survey found that 44 percent of respondents think Santa is a Democrat, while 28 percent believe he’s a Republican.”*

And to all, a good night!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-29: Santacular! by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger

X-mas Rated

Remove yourself from it for a few years (or work retail) and it begins to look very absurd, indeed.

Full of odd tropes, so many that it seems every single thing in the world has a Christmas version, every television show, series of toys, comics, characters, discography, magazine, aesthetic changes for a few months in service of tradition careening out of control more and more each year.

There are Santa prons, there holiday specials, and even the Japanese (for which less than 1% of the population are Christian) can go absolutely bonkers for the holiday.

For Christ’s sake, ham becomes ‘Christmas ham.’

These themes pervade such as; ‘this is going to be the best Christmas ever,’ ‘this is a very special Christmas,’ ‘the last Christmas, the very last Christmas,’ ‘Christmas is in danger!’, ‘we need to save Christmas!’ ‘the Miracle of Christmas!’ And not merely in fiction, but IRL as well.

Religious fundamentalists and fanatics decry the commercialism of the holiday, even going back nearly a hundred years. It is not merely the Grinch, Scrooge, or any other of a countless nefarious foe out to eradicate the holiday with a push of a button, but marketing departments, conglomerates, thieves, cheats, secularists and competing religious/philosophical worldviews.

For some such as myself, the holiday has no real meaning, nothing that the warmth of family, friends, and community cannot provide on other holidays or year round. A pleasant nostalgia that could also be served by watching TMNT or playing NES. Part of the absurdity I find in the fanaticism of Christmas stems from the seemingly arbitrariness of choosing this particular holiday. Why not St. Patrick’s Day? Or Easter? The madness associated with Halloween is fun and outrageous (and now exported to every part of the globe), but on no such scale as the industrious and brobdignagian Christmas.

Even allowing the synthesis of a long-running Christian dominance over Western society (and later the world) with strong pagan roots, I’m amazed at the incredible surge of ‘meaning’ that appears to have historically manifested in the last couple centuries. Almost as if Christmas is quickening towards some kind of ‘holiday singularity’. The corporatization aside, even the larger celebrated secular Christmas tradition looms large over society, literally enveloping a quarter of the year. Fair-weather Christians attend church on this day, and people who profess no kinship to friends and families may buy gifts or cards out of misplaced obligation. Children and indeed adults pretend to be ‘extra special good’ in the weeks leading up to Santa and also Christ’s arrival. Acts of madness ensue in mall parking lots. A mini-apocalypse, since Christians known not the time of his return, but do know his birthday.

Every musical artist ‘worth their salt’ has to release multiple Christmas tracks, sometimes part of a compilation with others, often an entire album or two of their own. The majority are covers of what are now considered ‘holiday standards,’ enough to fill entire radio stations for months. Others compose their own holiday ballads, in the hopes of making it their own repulsive standard, and in fact may later be covered themselves.

If you stop to consider, there is an entire genre of music that is only popularly played during one time of the year, and you probably know most of the lyrics.

And when I think of the number of Christmas songs performed by Frank Sinatra, I can also mull over the many years of Christmas experiences the Chairman may have himself had, filled with joy, sorrow, loss, togetherness, loneliness, prosperity, charity, or bitterness. His experiences, both good and bad, are like all of ours, and more or less contribute to the shared cultural phenomenon doomed to repeat each and every year.

For you see, you can’t really remove yourself from the season at all. It is in you.

Christmas for many is religious, or nonsecular, or secular, or commercial, or a state of deep depression. I don’t mind the fetishism of the day and its symbols and themes, even if it has been fully taken over by mass consumerism and capitalist scheming. I don’t even necessarily mind that it is overtaking Thanksgiving and Halloween, though many do, and those days should certainly be observed for their own intrinsic kickass nature. Christmas itself, for a period of each year at least, becomes a religion unto itself. We worship with our pocketbooks. By our consumption of holiday treats and the same old movie classics.

There are those who, regardless of their spiritual nature, idolize and glorify Christmas, despite the number of atrocities that occur during the month. There are those that get depressed, as suicide rates rise (myth) and crimes increase. More break-ups occur in November through January, attesting perhaps to our inner cheapness. So why give in to it at all? Why bother being so upset and lonely, simply because society is emphasizing the special romantic togetherness that others have? Just boycott and ignore it.

‘The true meaning of Christmas‘, itself an overused trope, has been alternately defined by everyone from Tiny Tim and Linus to Ernest and John Lennon. And the downright freaky.

In posing this question to others, I received several theories. The evolution of Christmas, from romantic prose and Germanic saintly gift-giving, the search for a proper holiday mascot, and the formulaic standardization of Santa Claus by Coca-Cola and Norman Rockwell, has been one long growing culture of capitalizing on such heavy heartstrings. Others have suggested that we are more susceptible due to our winter blues, cabin fever, the wistful changing of the seasons and yes, the end of our very calendar system. The need to share warm food and family unity, much like Thanksgiving, harkening back to our harsh harvesting days. Another pointed out that the advertising and sales push is driven by the year-end audit, the taxable stock, and need for final quarterly revenues in the black.

Capitalism has certainly latched onto this endless cycle of tropes and dogma, ignoring that Santa himself doesn’t make or spend money, we all remember that the very first Christmas gifts were very expensive indeed; gold, frankincense and myrrh. Even the message of Rudolph is clear: your peers will have no respect or value for you unless your uniqueness provides some basic utility to the employer. This year, Best Buy actually looks to actually out-do Santa Claus.

Which begs another question, of not just why Christmas, or why not some other holiday, or why anything at all, but why not all year-round? The parallel dimension of all-year Christmas may look frantic, insane with shoppers and muggers, and surprise military attacks and shady legislation, wars still fought and the rich getting richer, but would also be a world with consistently impressive tips, donations, charity, the ostracizing of Scroogely misers, kindness to children, brotherhood and understanding to people around the world, and that most lovable absurdity of all; gift-giving.

And what of the universe with no Christmas at all? Would they miss it? Would some other institution inevitable take its place around some other holiday, or destined to be near the cold, wintry end of the year regardless? So necessary and ingrained in us that no Twilight Zone trickery could remove it?

Christmas permeates every thing, there is no escape, easily 1/12th to 1/4 of our lives is Christmas. And if one wished to, one could use decorations and sites of the internet (because why bother taking any of them down?) to celebrate all year.

I guess it doesn’t matter. You can celebrate in whatever way you want, even if that means deliberate boycott, solitary solemn worship, family reunion, or all-out spending spree. You can have no regard at all for the day but still relish the excuse to give gifts. It means many different things to many different people, and that even includes complete apathy.

As with everything, I advise not wasting any of your vitriol on the holiday season. Christmas hatred is perhaps the worst absurdity of all.

Calvin presents 'Pascal's Christmas Wager'

“I will stop taking Christ out of Christmas is you stop taking Thor out of Thursday.”

Santa Claus Hides In Your Phonograph


Christmas is over this year and perhaps for all time if the one-dimensional heroes can’t save it from the radio waves of the future!! Cheesy December ends in a fiery panoply of chaos and EFFIN’ METAL. And what better way to harken the dark post-Noel end days than a debate on this most Silent of Nights than with the one and only South Side Santa. What value is someone else’s near-birthday on the global economy of conglomerated consumerism? Does the Tide of Yule bring us closer together, or closer to the edge? Is it even worth saving? How exactly does he get a bowl full of jelly down a chimney during the Holiday fat season?

Hall of the Mountain King – Apocalyptica
Jingle Bells – Austrian Death Machine
Speed Metal Symphony – Yngwie Malmstein
Christmas With the Devil – Spinal Tap
Mistress For Christmas – AC/DC
White Christmas – Twisted Sister
Carol of the Bells – Al DiMeola
Christmas Time Is Here – Steve Vai
Do You Hear What I Hear – Steve Stevens
Beyond the Ice – Blind Guardian
Deck the Halls – Ted Nugent
The Christmas Song – Steve Lukather
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – John Sykes
Cantique De Noel (O Holy Night) – Richie Sambora
Little Drummer Boy – Carlos Creator
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Gilby Clarke
Run Rudolph Run – Lemmy
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Dokken
Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Gary Hoey
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – Dio
Silent Night – Scott Ian
Happy Death-Day – GWAR
Wonderful Life – Bad Acid Trip
God Hates Us All – Slayer
For Whom The Bell Tolls – Santa Claws And The Naughty But Nice Orchestra
Come All Ye Faithful – Halford
No Presents For Christmas – King Diamond
Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis – Tom Waits

Stranger in a Strange Land 2009-12-26: The Great Christmas Debate (w/The South Side Santa) by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger

Good grief.

Some Excuse for a Holiday


Because waiting is the hardest part, tonight we’ll talk about the lamest of ducks, the final days of the Bush administration, the light that may be at the end of this economically-depraved and crumbling tunnel, and because it IS INDEED the holiday season (despite my best efforts) we’ll talk to the South Side Santa. He may even have some advice for avoiding fruitcakes!

In The Hall Of The Mountain King – Sounds Incorporated
Makossa – Manu Dibango
The World Is Mine – Incognito
Hypnotist Of Ladies – They Might Be Giants
It’s Coming Down – Cake
Kid A – Radiohead
Chameleon – Herbie Hancock
Oodles Of O’s – De La Soul
Virus Freestyle – Del Tha Funkee Homosapien
Alien Travel – Eligh
Like A Thief In The Night – Michael Longo
Bathtime in Clerkenwell – (The Real) Tuesday Weld
I Believe in Father Christmas – Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Temples of Syrinx – Rush
The Mexican – Babe Ruth
Hope You’re Feeling Better – Mother Earth
If There’s Hell Below – Curtis Mayfield
I Wouldnt Change A Thing – Coke Escovedo
Uncle Remus – Frank Zappa
Strolling – Brother Jack Mcduff
4 + 20 – Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Stranger in a Strange Land 2008-12-13: Some Excuse for a Holiday by The Stranger on Mixcloud

In China, archaeologists have discovered a 2,700 year-old stash of marijuana. It was later ‘misplaced’ on the way to an In and Out Burger.

~The Stranger

Hail Santa!

playlist* for 7/25/08**

Cloud Nine – Mongo Santamaria
I’m A Man – Yardbirds
I Wanna Get High – Cypress Hill
Cool Jazz – Miles Davis
Became A Monsta – Monsta Island Czars
Good and Evil (Rumba/Llesa) – David Byrne
I Won’t Dance – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Radio, Radio – Elvis Costello
Harmonica – Ennio Morricone
Knife-Edge – Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Roll Away The Stone – Mott The Hoople
The Mad Scientist – Large Professor
Kings Of Boogie – Savoy Brown
Mars Attacks – Aesop Rock
Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) – Raspberries
Nightmare Part II – The Zutons
Thank You Friends – Big Star
Broken Hearts Are For Assholes – Frank Zappa
The Shadow Of Your Smile – Astrud Gilberto

This week we’ll also hear from the infamous South Side Santa on startling current events in the Claus community, just another concrete-heavily crashing domino in the quickening of events towards the eventual stark reality, forced to live underground or else fight for bleak survival on a ruined Earth.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2008-07-26 on Mixcloud

~The Stranger

*laws of physics require that I mention this whole playlist is subject to change; even though matter refuses to be thoroughly destroyed, music files eventually are corrupted by evil, decay, and die.
**this date is contingent on your not having traveled through time at one or various point(s)


The season is upon us, dear readers, for insincerity and consumerism! I saw my first commercial there about a week after Halloween, which, I suppose, means that they held off on us by a few months this year. “What is this the season for? Savings, of course! All Pontiacs no APR, over invoice, tool and dye, stop those holiday snoopers and drop those holiday pounds!” I defy you! That’s right, Ted Turner, Coca-Cola, Tim Allen and Hallmark Cards (a subsidiary of Doom, Inc.), I defy you and your crass tasteless gauche regime devoid of any goodwill towards your fellow man! I not only renounce your holiday for what it has so slowly become that, even though we all notice, nobody seems to mind, I renounce it, boycott it, and substitute my own like ranch dressing in place of Caesar on that salad at the diner in Mt. Washington! I hereforetowith am celebrating Christday! (Festivus for the rest of us is also a nice option, like the GPS on your jetta). Christday, on which, I will be heading down to Carson Street with a clipboard, a billfold, and the most amazing display of brawn and determined gritty ambition ever to step out of Bethlehem, that Prince of Men, the King of the Jews, the Shepherd of the flock, Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus Christ! (portrayed by one Lee Powell). and in the other corner, ladies and most gentle of gentlemen, hailing from the frozen north, where he trains three-hundred and some sixty-four days out of the year, the man in red, that jolly old elf, Saaaaaaaaaaaaint Nicholas! (portrayed by the South Side Santa). And, for a limited time offer, you can up the ante, parlay the long shot, and venture your odds on a speculation of a wager down on this pot of a raffle… (thank you Roget) ‘Tis the season for PAYOLA! Getta you tootsie fruitsie ice cream! It’s not a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ attitude so much as a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, satirize the hell out of ’em’ thing.

In other nonsecular news, my roommates and I have exchanged names for a secret samurai gift exchange. Immediately, and I mean, IMMEDIATELY, Professor Madness fucked it up by saying that he had El Cocco. And since there are only four of us, and each of us then know who Professor Madness has and who we each have, it spoils the entire fucking process. If Prof. Madness has El Cocco, and I know that I have Prof. Madness, then that means that since the Zombie King cannot have El Cocco or himself then he must have me and that El Cocco must then have the Zombie King. I didn’t say anything, but I have enough faith in everybody (Prof. Madness excluded) to figure this out by themselves between now and March seventh. Oh, I forgot to tell them that for Christday, you exchange gifts on March seventh.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!