December 29, 2004

Christmas music playlist

Yesterday I promised to post the playlist for the Christmas CD I made for "Moms" (my mother in law). Here it be:

1. I'll Be Home For Christmas / Vanessa Williams 2. A Warm Little Home On A Hill / Stevie Wonder 3. These Are The Special Times / Christina Aguilera 4. We Three Kings / Chuck Leavell 5. What Child Is This / Vanessa Williams 6. The Christmas Song / Bobby Lyle 7. Ave Maria / Stevie Wonder 8. O Holy Night / Donna Summer 9. Sleep Well, Little Children / Vanessa Williams 10. Someday At Christmas / Stevie Wonder 11. The Christmas Song (Michael Kessler Open Fire Mix) / Mel Torme 12. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas / Christina Aguilera 13. Go Tell It On The Mountain/Mary Had A Baby / Vanessa Williams 14. Jingle Bells (Dan The Automator Remix) / Dean Martin 15. Christmas In Hollis / Run DMC 16. The Nutcracker Suite (Baz Kuts Breaks Mix) / Berlin Symphony Orchestra 17. My Favorite Things / John Coltrane

I think that she liked all of the classic stuff...not so sure about the remixes and Christmas in Hollis ("My name's DMC with the mic in my hand, and I'm chillin and coolin just like a snowman")....

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:15 AM

December 28, 2004

Christmas Ritual

OK, we're almost done with the end-of-year holiday season. In an earlier posting I mentioned that a personal Thanksgiving ritual ended a few years back; now it appears that a Christmas ritual may also be dead. I bought my first car in 1987, a 1979 Honda Accord with 120K miles on it (still going strong when I sold it in 1991 with 190K miles). On Christmas mornings from 1987-2001 I drove around town listening to Christmas music for an hour or so. Two years ago I visited my in-laws for Christmas so didn't get to do it, thus breaking the streak. Last year I was able to take the morning music cruise on Dec. 25, but this year we didn't get out of the house until 1:00. We did play a CD of Christmas music that I made for my mother-in-law, so I guess that counts on some level. Good, I was wrong: the ritual is not completely dead, but next year I've got to celebrate it in its original form....

[4:01 PM] At least one reader wants to know what was on the Christmas CD. Tomorrow I'll post the song list. Check back again then!

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:15 PM

December 21, 2004

Parking for The Hi

So far when I ride The Hi I usually bike from my office to the Cedar/Riverside station. Now that it's getting cold out (6 degrees today) I'll drive to a station and park. Last week and today I parked at the new Lake St. station parking lots . The smaller, closer lot was about half full today, but the bigger one was almost deserted when I used it last week...even though only a slightly longer walk is required to access it. I don't think that Minnesotans were scared off by an extra minute or two in the cold; but slushing through an unpaved lot is another matter. I know that Metro Transit is running short on cash money, but what were they thinking?!? That lot's gonna be empty until May....

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:02 PM

December 16, 2004

Movies from Children's Books

Tomorrow the movie version of A Series of Unfortunate Events opens. I enjoyed the first 5 books in the series (but decided to take a break after the 6th book irritated me to the point where I almost stopped reading it), so I'll check out the movie...despite Jim Carrey's probable overdone performance as Count Olaf. I hope I'm wrong....

I'm much more excited about the December 2005 opening of my favorite children's book of all time, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book in C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia series. I just found a first-look video online. Check it out: Behind the Magic.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:51 AM

December 14, 2004

Target store design

Yesterday I popped in to a Target that I've never been in before, and after wandering around for 10 minutes looking for lint traps, gave up and went home. I have often noticed that each Target has a slightly different layout but never gave it much thought until the ride home, when it suddenly struck me that maybe Target does this by design vs. idiosyncracies of each store manager. The reason? If a shopper is not in his/her normal Target they have to seach for items and during this time may see other stuff to add to the list, so end up buying more than they intended. Wow, are Capitalists really that ingenious, or was it my Triskaidekaphobia in operation yesterday, December 13?

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:01 PM

December 9, 2004

Riding the Hi (part 2)

On Saturday Minneapolis' light rail system opened a new segment, serving the airport and the Mall-O (Mall Of America). Yesterday I rode the Hiawatha line to check out its 5 new stations, despite the objections of my grrrrl Connie ("Why don't you wait till you actually have to go to the airport or mall?"). Now being the fan of light rail that I am I've got to check it out while the paint's fresh, right?!

Of the 5 new stations, only one (Airport-Lindbergh Terminal) was really interesting, maybe because it's unique in that it's the only one that's underground, like my favorite Atlanta MARTA station, Peachtree Center. MARTA, by the way, is an acronym for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, but suburbanites call if "Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta." One of them must have been on a trip to The Twin Cities yesterday, as before siting next to me a White woman asked (a bit nervously), "Is anyone sitting here? Can I sit down?" The proper etiquette is to just sit, or -- if someone is sitting on the aisle and the window seat is open -- say "move before I put my foot in yo' ass, fool!" Try it next time you're on the bus or Hi....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:15 PM

December 7, 2004

Roswell DVD

In an earlier entry I mentioned that I love teen dramas. A big part of this is because the characters enjoy things that real life teens want but can never get (e.g., Pacey sleeping with his teacher on "Dawson's Creek"; this is the fantasy of EVERY high school boy!). Another reason is that these shows have much pedagogical value (see an article I wrote for Bad Subjects, about the use of Sci-Fi TV in college classes; it's mostly about "The X-Files" but at the end I mention teen shows).

My favorite teen show of all time is Roswell, about four extraterrestrial alien teenagers and their human friends and lovers. This weekend I finished watching season 1 on DVD. I don't know if I'll get the other two seasons, though, as the producers replaced many of the songs from the broadcast version. A note from the executive producer said this was done because fees to license many of the original songs would make the DVD prohibitively expensive. I understand that Capitalist reality, but they could've been more selective in what to keep and what to toss! WHY WHY WHY was Kevon Edmonds' "24/7" replaced during Liz's daydream of "Blind Date"?? That's a criminal offense! Anyone know what law enforcement organization handles this type of thing?

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:03 PM

December 3, 2004

TV Racial Representations

So last night life as we know it was on after a 3 week absence. One of the nice things was that Ben (a White guy) went on a date with bi-racial (Black/White) Sue, and no one even commented on it! Now eventually the producers will find a way to make it an issue, but it was refreshing to see it start out low key.

On the other hand, one of my English professor homies tells me that there's an email circulating on a Modern Language Association listserv about how the "Leon" Budweiser ads are racist because the main character is a caricature of the modern African-American athlete. Stuff like this gives academia a bad name. The ads poke fun at the modern Prima Donna pro athlete in general, regardless of race. While race can be read into anything (like Martin Lawrence in Boomerang calling pool a racist game 'cause the object is for the white ball to knock the black ball off the table), some readings are trivial at best, and at worst distract attention from more important the overemphasis on sports or entertainment as the avenue for success for young Black and Latino men.

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:15 PM