Grifter-in-Chief

Trump celebrates New Year’s Eve by selling tickets to his party. From The Huffington Post: “The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict,” she [Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump transition team who will be White House director of strategic communications,] told Politico. “This is an annual celebratory event at the …

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Margaret Whiting sings

Frank Loesser wrote “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and Ms. Whiting recorded it in 1947. It wasn’t intended for a musical or movie, but it’s become a classic. It’s one of some 700 songs for which Loesser wrote lyrics. He died of lung cancer in 1969; he was only 59 years old.

Traditions, Part 3

Merry Christmas to All! Note: This entry was originally published December 24, 2003. From the Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897 We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun: I am 8 years …

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Traditions, Part Two

It is indeed the Night Before Christmas, so let’s listen to Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians perform the song. This rendition was first aired on December 23, 1951 on Waring’s eponymous CBS radio show. Waring became a bandleader at an early age: he started a group called Fred Waring’s Banjo Orchestra while still a teenager. …

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Traditions, Part One

For years the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s “As It Happens” program has broadcast Alan Maitland’s reading of Frederick Forsyth’s “The Shepherd” on or about Christmas Eve. Here’s the story behind the tale: Forsyth created this original work as a Christmas gift to his first wife Carrie after she requested a ghost story be written for her. …

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Sting Saw Three Ships

Here is Sting playing “I Saw Three Ships” with a whole lot of help, performed live at Durham Cathedral in England in 2009. The entire performance is on a DVD cleverly titled “Sting: A Winter’s Night…Live from Durham Cathedral.” The song itself is very old, first printed in the 17th century. The reference to ships …

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Pops goes Caroling

Airing tonight on PBS is an hour-long program called “Happy Holidays with the Boston Pops” in which Keith Lockhart leads the orchestra in Christmas music. In honor of that, here’s Arthur Fiedler conducting one of their versions of “Sleigh Ride.” There are at least three different albums in which he and the orchestra played it, …

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JT sings Winter Wonderland

I’ve admired James for a long time; I remember when “Sweet Baby James” came out back in 1970. One of my fraternity brothers played it over and over again (that happened with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” too, but it was a different fraternity brother). He did something more to justify that admiration …

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