Last of the Star Wars films (for a while)

Last Tuesday (the 21st) I took advantage of a theater gift card I got for Christmas and went out to see the latest “Star Wars” film. I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say it was the best of the nine episodes in the Jedi/Skywalker story, but it was far from the worst. I might have enjoyed …

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More Christmas tales

(Originally posted 12/25/18) I have posted two of these nearly every year for the past ten: “Yes Virginia”, the story of Francis P. Church’s New York Sun newspaper editorial responding to Virginia O’Hanlon’s question about Santa Claus’s existence. Jo Walton’s wonderfully imaginative story of Joseph, faced with a newly-pregnant girlfriend and a sudden requirement to …

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Christmas Eve poems

Alan Mandell reads Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas.” Mandell is a Canadian-born theater actor. The poem was published in 1823, but Moore didn’t acknowledge his authorship until he published a book of poems in 1844. There’s apparently an ongoing dispute among some literati and academics as to whether he was the actual author. He …

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There were bells

Mannheim Steamroller first appeared on the holiday music scene in 1984, although founder Chip Davis had been making records beginning in 1975. They’ve produced several albums of Christmas music. This is “Carol of the Bells,” from their 2004 compilation album “Christmas Celebration.”

The ancient choir

King’s College (Cambridge) has a glorious choir, comprised of 16 boys aged 7-13 and 10 adults. It was founded in — get ready — 1441 by King Henry VI of England. It’s famous for its “Nine Lessons and Carols,” performed and broadcast throughout the world on Christmas Eve via the BBC. The Lessons have been …

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Christmas readings

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has a daily radio show called “As It Happens.” During the Christmas season its hosts have read various seasonal stories during part of the 90-minute program for years and years. All of them are wonderful performances. Here are links to a few: “The Gift of the Magi,” O. Henry’s classic …

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Shortest night of the year

To celebrate the Winter Solstice, let’s hear a spectacular piano version of Vivaldi’s “Winter,” from his “Four Seasons” concertos. Vivaldi wrote them circa 1717 and published sonnets to accompany them in order to explain what he was trying to say about each season. This was one of the first and certainly the most detailed of …

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Stille Nacht

From a 1994 TV special entitled Aaron Neville’s Christmas in New Orleans, here’s “Silent Night”. Neville and Linda Ronstadt performed several glorious duets on her 1989 album “Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind”, and they reunited here on this show from his hometown. From Wikipedia: The song was first performed on Christmas Eve …

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