BlogCast: Tom’s Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas: Song 14

 

Have you ever felt that Christmas has become over-commercialized? Well… if it makes anyone feel any better… you are not alone… so do I. So does today’s featured recording artist… the 89-year-young, American musician, singer-songwriter, satirist and mathematician… Tom Lehrer.

Were you and I to ever have the good fortune to meet up with this musician / wordsmith… oh… say at some impromptu holiday gathering… I know I’d try to gently coax him out of retirement… get him to… once more… for old time’s sake… pull out the ol’ piano bench to regale us with today’s BlogCast featured song… Lehrer’s original, spot-on, musical composition… A Christmas Carol.

Of course… considering how that above partay scenario exists only in my fantasyland… to hear Tom playing the 88’s and singing his heart out, we’ll simply need to click onto that YouTube vid’s playback button.

My owning both vinyl and CD copies of two of Lehrer’s 1960s era albums, I am well acquainted with his wit and wisdom. So, I can fully attest to the fact that this particular track will totally meld with one’s yearnings to reconnect to the true meaning of Christmas. Or, to put that into more secular terminology… to reconnect to respect and love for humankind.

There’s little doubt in my mind that there are multiple billions of kindhearted, non-Christians and agnostics… spanning all across our globe… who feel that respect and love.

To demonstrate how… with the passage of time… Lehrer’s music has become a cultural crossover phenomenon, I’m also including a cover of this same track, performed by David Quah, a man who totally digs where Mr. Lehrer’s head is at… a man who has learned all his mentor has taught him… and learned it well. Don’t miss Quah’s impressive rendition.

Just for the record… I’m not channeling Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge. I’d never bleat out, “Bah! Humbug!” towards families and friends who are exchanging Christmas presents. However…

What life has taught me is that long after the festive wrapping paper, fancy bows and gift boxes have been stuffed into the recycling bin… long after the gifts, themselves, are forgotten… oh… say… the clothing which has faded / frayed / become unfashionable and high tech gizmos / gadgets which have malfunctioned / melted down / become obsolete… it’ll be our cherished memories of all who are near and dear to us… the family reunions and holiday parties we attended in days of yore… which will endure… perhaps through eternity.

More to the point…

The best present anyone could ever present to anyone near and dear to them, would be to say, with sincerity, “I love you” and to express those three magic words not just during the holidays but all year round.

On a more personal note…

I wish all of my readers, followers, and BlogCast listeners

Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas!

 

I’d also like to express my gratitude to all who are spending their precious time listening to my “Top 20 Countdown “2” Christmas”… a musical mix featuring a blend of spiritual content, social commentary, secular…and yes… even some humorous elements. My plan is to get as many of us into the holiday spirit as is possible. Towards that future, I’ll continue presenting my selections… classics all… counting ‘em down one-a-day… from now until we reach #1 on the 25th.

So… be sure to stop back here again… if not daily… schedule your return visits as often as your time permits.

 

I’d also like to invite you to click back for my regular monthly BlogCast… one that typically features anywhere from 3 to 5 segued songs… this program slated to hit the www “airwaves” on Sunday, December 24, 2017.

 

FYI, my past musical presentations are archived within my BlogCast and music categories.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to like, follow, share and comment.

 

 

There’s Still So Much More of Our Work to be Done

 

Once again, it’s Labor Day in America… a “holiday” which:

  1. Ushers in the unofficial end of summer.
  2. Reminds students it’s time to return to their classrooms.
  3. Supposedly honors all industrious workers who’ve ever opted in to the once upon a time, time honored, time for money trade-off.

Well, I suppose, two out of three ain’t bad. To elaborate…

Oh, what an inequitable trade off item #3 usually involves.

Oh, what an utterly meaningless holiday this has become. How so?

Well, workers (who can still think for themselves) have become painfully aware of how, typically, their big bosses wallow in their own astronomical, wildly disproportional salaries and perks… how management feels no obligation to pay a living wage, provide job security and offer a comprehensive benefits package (inclusive of health insurance, paid sick / vacation days and pension plans). In some cases, these big shots even shirk their responsibility of providing a hazard-free work environment.

Without a doubt, such woes are closely related to that bloodsucker, who fronts the present-day DC régime (a foul, fetid, festering government / corporate mash-up). Throughout his pathetic, parasitic career, he has, personally, screwed over labor… e.g., stiffed them on paydays, outsourced their jobs and engaged in union busting.

Yet, hypocritically, he feigns outrage over his very own deplorable business tactics… has successfully suckered in his low information, gullible supporters into bogusly believing he’s the “good guy” who will fight to prevent immigrants from “stealing” their jobs.

To emphasize here, he does ALL OF THAT in spite of the fact that immigrants are NOT actually displacing all that many American workers.

You see, what he has failed to mention is how these jobs oft involve FIELDS most Americans would find unappealing. In fact, these jobs LITERALLY CAN INVOLVE FIELDS… the harvesting of fruit and vegetable crops (oft under horrific working conditions). Similar workplace hellholes shackle slave labor to sweatshop sewing machines. Either way, workers toil overtime and work their fingers to the bone while beastly taskmasters (literally?) crack the whip.

SO folks, unless you view these as attractive career opportunities, don’t ever blame immigrants for your having a tough time finding a new job. We should not be envious OF them… we should feel sorrow FOR them. If our society’s priorities weren’t so totally F’d up, instead of ICE agents rounding up and deporting immigrants, federal agents would be driving the reprehensible, slave driver bosses out of America.

I’m sure many of my international readers would concur that my abovementioned woes are hardly unique to America.

I’m sure we, the readers of John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath, would agree his plot presages the horrific, present-day dismal working conditions, crappy wages, workplace violence and societal upheaval.

So what’s a working stiff to do, huh?

Well, the problem solving must begin with a truly enlightened president / world leader, who would NEVER embrace wretched, low road tactics such as fanning the flames of racism. To get totally real here… most joblessness is actually caused by corporate greed, union busting, outsourcing, automation and workers’ lack of training / marketable skills.

No learned leader would ever fight to preserve the abysmal status quo of today’s undereducated and unskilled workforce. Allocating tax dollars to pay unemployed workers, of course, would be still be a necessity BUT how much better life would eventually get were he to also funnel additional funds into programs designed to educate and train his out of work compatriots. Education also must be ongoing… i.e., keep up with each and every new technological advance. In other words, our education does not end until the day each of us dies. For all we know, it doesn’t end even then.

Folks, I saw, first hand, how President Lyndon B. Johnson’s progressively minded government functioned. For four summers (spanning 1963 – 66) my own father, a public school teacher, had applied for and received a generous U.S. government stipend to attend college classes and wound up earning his Masters Degree in Chemistry. Bettering himself resulted in his earning a substantially bigger paycheck… of course, not before teachers had also won the rights to organize labor unions… to collectively bargain for a living wage, benefits and smaller class sizes… to go on strike whenever necessary.

Folks, a strong, healthy, happy, unionized productive workforce plays a major role in making America… indeed, every other nation… great!

This Labor Day… and for as many future Labor Days as it may take… we must remind ourselves that there’s still so much more of our work to be done… and that begins with educating / changing attitudes of governments, management and labor.

Meaningful work, which fully enriches our lives, cannot be ours until governments… not only in America but worldwide… cease and desist from devastating workers’ pay and rights.

Labor Day must, once again, become a true holiday… one, where the powers-that-be wholeheartedly honor each and every trainable person in possession of a strong work ethic… ensure every one of them a living wage, comprehensive benefits package, job security and a hazard free workplace.