My name is Liz. I need direction. I overuse commas, my house is a mess, my hair needs a trim and I have no marketable skills: It's fun here, you'll see!

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December 20th, 2012

Hi Again & Christmas Music

Hi, fools! I’m back! By way of explanation for my absence, allow me to post this photograph, which I took:

First Explosion - cropped(Please note: This was taken during a training exercise at Ft. Irwin; no one was hurt during this explosion)

Okay! That part is over now.


Are we all having a nice holiday season? I know I am! It’s finally cold enough to use my enormous down comforter, I’m about 88% finished with gift purchasing and prep (which is my favorite part of this season), and I have been listening to Christmas music NON-STOP. I’ve run into no issues so far with my down comforter, but with regard to gifts and music, I have some problems. One, there isn’t enough money or time in the universe for me to possibly get a gift for all of the people who have been there for me this year. Two, I love Christmas music, and I haven’t ever recorded it myself, which is a shame, because I know most of the words.

This problem solves itself, if I make the very presumptuous leap that any of you would ever want to hear me sing a Christmas tune.

WARNING: I am making that leap.

But what song to choose? There are some gems, but there are some serious clunkers, too.

Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Here Comes Santa Claus are all out immediately, because, well, they are really, really stupid.  And I have a visceral aversion to Santa Baby, on the grounds that it’s super yucky. That song is in the realm of My Heart Belongs to Daddy. Just… why? I mean, it’s catchy and somewhat amusing, but then you really start to listen to the words and you realize she’s essentially giving SANTA CLAUS the equivalent of a vocal lap dance in order to get a boat and some freaking jewelry and it makes you want to throw up.

I thought maybe I’d take it in a more serious direction, but I couldn’t. The First Noel will always make me think of Johnny “Bowtie” Barstow’s version, and that would breed madness. And I don’t think I actually know the real words to Joy to the World— I only know the parody Ren & Stimpy did entitled Cobb to the World where they sing “Cheese logs to you/a cobb is born/let earth receive her corn” or something like that. And let’s be honest, lyric writing like that can’t be confined to just one measly track. I’d have to cover the whole album.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town seems to be popular with jazz musicians, but I find the lyrics confusing. On the one hand, Santa appears to be omnipotent and fastidious, an OCD god of sorts, aware of everyone’s sleep habits and making mysterious lists that he must check two times. On the other hand, he might also be Omar from “The Wire,” requiring a song to warn you that he’s coming, though the horrors his arrival might bring are never fully explained. All that is offered is a hasty “You better watch out!” (SIDE NOTE: I almost – almost – did this song, adding a whistled reference to “The Farmer in the Dell” at the end.) It’s clear this song is just a tool used by parents to get their kids to shut up and eat their peas in December. For me, it doesn’t really capture the spirit of the season.

Then I remembered by favorite Christmas song of all time: The Christmas Waltz written by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne. It’s simple and pretty, and there’s some room to mess with it. Perfect for my favorite guitar player, Adam Ratner, and me to have fun on. Adam Ratner, by the way, is amazing. Aside from learning the tune and coming up with excellent cords and ideas, he recorded this in his house, and mixed and mastered it in a matter of hours. Adam Ratner deserves an award. We based the intro around the 1957 Frank Sinatra version, arranged by Nelson Riddle, although it’s very different-sounding now that we’ve gotten a hold of it.

I really hope you all enjoy it. Thank you all for everything this year, and Happy Holidays to you!

[audio:http://theproductivecough.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Christmas-Waltz.mp3|titles=The Christmas Waltz – Cole & Ratner Dec. 2012]

6 comments to Hi Again & Christmas Music

  • Beau Baker

    Thank freaking God you’re back! Have a great Christmas! Where ever that is…

  • Beau Baker

    Oh, and you have a voice like a silver bell…

  • steve the cat

    Yay! Nice to have the Cough back in Production. Keep hocking stuff up!

    More you and Adam Rat.

  • Rat Princess

    You’re back!!! That’s my Christmas gift.

  • Uncle Roger

    Thanks for some seasonal laughs…. I always need those.
    If you want the best and cleanest and least sick making
    Christmas music, check out Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Avoid Handel’s Messiah….its been over exposed. Everyone is an expert and they are all trying too hard.
    And don’t go near the Nutcracker unless of course you’ve actually never heard it. I’m afraid it is a masterpiece.
    Is that you singing Liz? My god, your in tune…I wonder why.
    Merry Christmas!!

    Uncle Roger

  • Liz


    Yes, that’s me. I can’t BELIEVE I’m in tune. It must be all the whiskey.

    Thanks for the recommendations! Merry Christmas!

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