Category Archives: Dabney AAR

All I Want for Christmas Is You: The only truly great holiday song written in the past fifty years?

I had no idea Mariah, with her long-term collaborator, wrote this song.

This article at Slate.com states (about the recent not very nice criticism’s of Ms. Carey’s recent live performance):

Those pop culture Grinches who’ve been expressing shamefully unseasonal schadenfreude over Carey’s flop would do well to remember two things: 1) Mimi sings better on her worst day than 99.9 percent of all humans who’ve ever lived; 2) She is the co-author, along with longtime collaborator Walter Afanasieff, of the only Christmas song written in the last half-century worthy of inclusion in the Great American Songbook.

Go Mariah!

What are your favorite holiday books for kids?

tCMoJTOne of the joys of the holidays is reading the season’s books for children. I have about fifteen I’ve saved that I read to my children when they were littler.

One of my very favorites and, I think, the most moving, is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski. This story, beautifully illustrated by P.J. Lynch, is perfect. 

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.

Every time I read this book, I am reminded of the power of love in the best way possible.

What holiday books do you love? Do you prefer fun ones–my favorite might be Auntie Claus–or do you cherish the ones that bring tears?

I M A U-M B-N.

CDBLong before our phones started to light up with “Wr r u?” there was CDB! by the wonderful and wacky William Steig. Steig, more famous for his stories with plots–Shrek, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and, my favorite, Dr. De Soto (about a very tiny dentist), wrote two books in “code': CDB! and CDC? . I loved CDB when I was younger–it was first published in 1968. I read both books to my siblings when they were small and then fell for them all over again while watching my own children puzzle over each page.

If you’ve never see one of the book, here’s a sample:

WSCDB

Did you ever read these marvels?

 

The Sexiest Man Alive

This article which gives an in-depth but not too long history of People Magazine‘s Sexiest Man Alive is a funchris-hemsworth-768 read.

It makes several stellar points. It is absurd that there’s only ever been one man of color–Denzel in 1996. And last year’s choice of Adam Levine was a poor one. I agree with Jezebel’s Madeleine Davies, “Adam Levine is not the Sexiest Man Alive.” He is “the human equivalent of testing positive for chlamydia.”

What do you think of this year’s choice? Does Mr. Helmsworth make you swoon? Personally, I prefer his brother. liam

 

The romance I want to see… and it’s not 50SoG.

Anyone seen this romance featuring a love story between a pop star and the LA cop assigned to protect her? The initial reviews are strong. Slate.com writes:

Beyond the Lights, writer-director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s show-business romance about the slowly blossoming affair between an ascendant pop star and a down-to-earth L.A. cop, is as shamelessly soapy as movies come—but I challenge you not to slip on the soap bubbles and fall right in to this movie’s invigorating bath. Onscreen love stories live and die on the connection between their leads, and as the troubled singer Noni Jean and her earnest protector-turned-paramour Kaz Nicol, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Nate Parker all but spontaneously combust each time they look at each other.

It’s got a 84% rating at Rotten Tomatoes which writes:

Thanks to smart direction and a powerhouse performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Beyond the Lights transcends its formulaic storyline to deliver thoroughly entertaining drama.

It’s been quite a while since I saw a good love story at the movies. I think the last one I loved was About Time.  (One could argue that Gone Girl is a love story but I’m not going there.)

Do you plan to see this movie? What was the last great love story you saw at the cinema?

 

Chinese pop singer Wang Rong Rollin’s music video “Chick Chick” is, well, something.

Is this, as several on the internet have claimed, the most bizarre music video of all time? The video, which sounds mostly comprised of avian sounds and electronic bass, features so many odd objects it has to be seen to be believed. I especially like the dancing topless men wearing farm animal masks….

another amazing Sam Smith cover


I listen to Whitney Houston covers with a judicious ear. The only one I think improves on the original is Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You because I think it undersells the song in a gorgeous way.

But this cover by pop crooner Sam Smith who, thus far, appears to be able to do no vocal wrong is so elegantly spare, I think it might be an improvement over the exuberant original. Maybe. Both are pop music at its best.