Segarini – Tinsel and Time Travel

 

I do not do well during the Holidays.

I look back at the year just passed and wonder if I did well …moved forward …accomplished some of my goals, and years ago, before the practice of ageism robbed me of being able to use my skill set to create and work and earn a paycheque, I could endure the passing of yet another year, but these days, it is difficult to channel all the energy, creative juices, and desire still active inside of me, to continue to hope that the songs will finally get recorded, the book will finally get edited, the radio ideas tried, the TV show and movie brought to fruition …having taken everything as far as I can on my own, I just can’t seem to find that person or persons to open the doors I need opened.

Edvard Munch – Melancholy 1893

This time of year I get depressed, or to put it more accurately, melancholy. I have to shake it off, have a heart to heart with myself, and soldier on, and, that is exactly what I do. But while that feeling of hopelessness and melancholy is rampant, before I can coax it back into it’s cage, it can overwhelm me.

Being aware of the passage of time, and the changes one experiences that come with the gift of being able to spend more time on this wonderful planet not only makes you grateful, it also makes you feel anxious to accomplish what you have started, what remains undone, unfinished. …and it was during the first stirrings of those feelings years ago, I learned of a skill we all have that I was not aware of. It gets me through the tough times, gives me hope, gives me comfort, and somehow energizes me and most certainly cheers me up. I share this knowledge with you now, knowing that some of you have discovered it too, and hope those of you who haven’t will, when it happens to you, understand how truly wonderful life is.

There are times you can travel through time. Not just some of you, but all of us.

We each have a gift rarely spoken of, and never thought about …but it presents itself unheralded, when you least expect it. …and when it does, it is like a warm summer breeze that flows right through you, the warmth of a long forgotten summer sun against your face, the smell of garden flowers in the air, and yet, you are waiting for a streetcar on a street corner in December, snow on the ground, and a temperature in the minus column, suddenly gone in an instant, for a moment, and you are somewhere else.

That is time travel. The sun, the breeze, the warmth, are not a daydream or a fiction. They are a moment in time from years ago, when you were 6, standing in the front yard with your mother on a warm Spring day, and just for a moment, you traveled back in time to experience it again.

The reason? As we hurtle into the future with no control over our trajectory, time moving forward, relentlessly as always, we occasionally seek the familiarity. the comfort, and the joy of people and places from the past that harbour surprises no longer …just memories so vivid and so cherished, that without our conscious knowledge, we are transported to those moments as surely as if we were there again. In the presence of People no longer on this mortal coil. In Places no longer as they were, if at all.

Time travel.

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Family That Was

Pop Mom and Me

Mom, Spotty, and Me Long Barn California Christmas Day 1948

 Pop Me and the Cousins

 Grandmother Sunta Cousin Diane Aunt Della

Linda and Eddie

Aunt Verlet Uncle Joe Della and Pop and my Mom’s Beautiful Italian Lace TableCloth

Uncle Al and Auntie Pauline Figone

Pop and Uncle Al with Mother Hubbard

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CHRISTMAS 1951

I loved Christmas when it was special.

Christmas and New Years Eve were spent at home, no school, my mother making divinity, fudge, and rum balls, salting and roasting almonds, having friends and family over for drinks or dinner.

My dad bartending in the back room of his grocery store, spending time with his customers and the salesmen and farmers that supplied his merchandise, and the whole family driving over to San Francisco to look at the animated scenes in the display windows at the Emporium, City of Paris, and The White House.

CITY OF PARIS

The multi-story tree at the City of Paris was always a special destination.  Located in the open rotunda of the department store, the 40 foot natural tree was a sight to behold. Decorated in the traditional style, the tree had toys, glass balls and garlands. We could go up to the different floors to get views of the tree from behind the railings. I always wondered how they got the tree into the store. …and what a store it was!

THE WHITE HOUSE

Another Christmas stop was The White House on Grant. It was a large department store that filled almost the whole block. My best memories of The White House included the House elf, Happy Holly.

Happy Holly

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Failed angel Clarence got his wings only once, because “It’s a Wonderful Life” was an event, usually shown on Christmas Eve, and not 3 times a day on 17 different stations for weeks at a time.

Look, Daddy! Teacher says, “Every time a bell rings, an Angel gets his wings”

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That was Then and This is Now ….

Commence the Nogging of the Egg in 3…2…1…

santa-bob

I am not a fan of Holidays and their annoying habit of screwing up my routine. Why can’t they just lump them all into one three week period, call it “Spend Every Last Cent You Have, Close the Businesses You Desperately Need Like Liquor Stores, Grocery Stores, and Government Offices, and Limit Public Transit to One Bus, One Streetcar, and One Subway Every 45 Minutes” and be done with it….

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Santa Bob’s Christmas Checklist

(If You Ain’t Got This, You Ain’t Got Christmas)

christmas-checklist10. Give your loved ones a list of gifts you would love for Christmas knowing that if you ask for an Amazon Echo, you will receive a subscription to the Cheese Wheel of the Month Club.

09. Plan and Organize a Christmas Party and send out invitations by the 15th of November, and a reminder on December 1st, 10th, 15th and 20th. Expect the worst blizzard in over 100 years on the day of your party.

08. Plan a romantic Christmas Eve Dinner with your true love. Forget to make reservations at Chez Expensive. End up sharing a Filet – O – Fish on a park bench next to McDonald’s parking lot.

christmas-dinner-bench

07. Accidentally drop your phone in the toilet.

06. Spend a day writing personalized Christmas cards, addressing the envelopes, and licking dozens of stamps. Spend over an hour in heavy traffic to get to the post office just in time to hear about the Post Office Strike that started the day before.

05. Spend Eleventybillion dollars on a gift for that special someone during the month of November. See an ad for the same gift 2 days before Christmas that says “OVERSTOCKED! On SALE NOW for 22.95…and WE PAY THE TAXES!” See the same gift on Boxing Day for 9.95.labradoodle-puppy

04. Spend hours over the holidays pulling tinsel out of your cat’s ass, cleaning up vomit from Fido and Snuggles every time they chow down on a Poinsettia or fake snow, and stand shivering in the snow while the fire department puts out the tree fire in your living room caused by your adorable little labradoodle pissing on the exposed wires where he chewed through the extension cord to the Christmas Tree Lights

03. Pass out from eating too many rumballs and washing them down with eggnog spiced with 100 proof dark rum and a Vicodin. Miss your grandkid playing a sheep in her Grammar school’s Nativity Play.

02. Check the “Cook Frozen” turkey you put in the oven 4 hours ago. Realize you forgot to turn the oven on….

…and finally….

thanksgiving-2010-1301. Going to your kid’s place for Christmas dinner and being served Tofu Turkey Loaf, Mashed Parsnips, Mung Bean Gravy, Organic worm infested lettuce, kale, coconut oil, and pea pod salad, and a dessert of natural yogurt with faux cherries and dandelions. Wash it all down with non alcohol Reddish-style wine-styled soy beverage, and a big cup of tree bark coffee-flavoured coffee style soy beverage. Spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch watching “Cait Jenner’s Christmas Spa Adventure” and yelling at the kids to stop pulling tinsel out of the cat’s ass.

MERRY CHRISTMAS (and all the other reasons to over eat, over drink, over spend, and over indulge) during this joyous season.

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I am used to spending Holidays by myself.

Not always, mind you. There have been wonderful dinners with friends over the past 30 years, and some lovely time spent with my beautiful daughter and grandchildren, but on the whole, the days of the specific holiday are spent alone. Being fairly reclusive, I am comfortable with it, stemming from years and years of being alone at Christmas while my family was in California visiting my mom, and I was stuck home, either working or strapped for cash …and it was also for my Mom to spend time with them, she loved them so much. Amy in California for Christmas

I only wish my mother could have been here to meet her Great Grandchildren and see how wonderfully AMY is raising them.

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This is a Christmas favourite …one of them, anyway.

Bob’s Traditional Christmas Dinner

The Wilson’s/Betty and Jerry’s Fried Ham Sandwich 

This is from a little strip mall diner I used to eat at every school day during the 5th and 6th grades at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Stockton California. 1956 – 1957

It is the best fried ham sandwich on this or any other Earth.

Their Cheeseburger was  equally astounding. Beg me for the recipe.

The Ham Sandwich Recipe….

toast-breadIngredients

Ham 3 thin but not too thin slices

Bread Soft, fresh white bread Wonder, Sunbeam, or any local brand. Cheap. Artisan bread will just fuck this up.

Mayonnaise REAL Mayonnaise, not low fat, not olive oil based, not 25% less sodium, not ‘Light, and for the love of God, NOT Miracle Whip.

product_lettuce2Lettuce There are 5 categories of Lettuce. Butterhead, Crisphead, Looseleaf, Romaine, and Celtuce. There are many sub-varieties of these five. Only ONE of those categories contains the correct lettuce. Under the Crisphead Lettuce, only the ‘Iceberg’ lettuce  is appropriate. The name iceberg was given to crisphead in the 1920s when California lettuce growers began shipping lettuce to far off markets in rail cars chilled with crushed ice.

Crisphead lettuce has outer leaves that are dark green and inner leaves that are greenish white to white. Because crispheads consist of layers of tightly packed leaves, they are more tolerant of heat and keep longer than leaf lettuces.

Varieties of crisphead include: ‘Great Lakes’, the classic iceberg-type lettuce, and ‘Ithaca’, which is glossy-green, frilled-leaf improved iceberg, and ‘Imperial’ with dark green heads. But “Great Lakes” is the one TRUE lettuce for this sandwich, burgers, and any other blue collar meal between two slices of bread. To use any other is either trendy, pretentious, or just plain addle-headed.

hand-picklePickles Mild cucumber pickles, sliced thin then diced.

Cooking and Assembly

Lightly brush flat grill surface with butter ( a similar brushing with bacon fat can be an addition)

Add ham slices, cook evenly on both sides. Ham is ready when slight charred areas appear and the ham bubbles slightly

While the ham is frying (about a total of 4 -5- minutes depending on grill temperature) Open the bread and spread generous amounts of mayonnaise on both slices. DO NOT toast the bread, it should be as fresh and soft as possible)

Remove ham slices from flat grill and position evenly on one slice of bread.

Add chopped, shredded CRISP ICEBERG lettuce in a layer across the entire surface of the top piece of fried ham.

Liberally place the diced cucumber pickles in the same fashion.

Cover the pickles, lettuce, and ham with the remaining slice of bread.

Slice diagonally and serve on a plate with a large ice cream scoop of homemade potato salad and a handful of Lay’s regular potato chips, and either a Vanilla milkshake or a Cherry Coke or regular Coca Cola.

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Enjoy your sandwich with this fine Christmas Music and scented candle you must provide yourself.

Christmas with Phil

They had a hit with “Cool Kids” and I fell in love with these 4 siblings who ranged in age from 15 to 21 when they recorded this. The lyrics were written as a poem in 1863, and set to music in 1872. This is my favourite version.

Take that, Max Martin and your 2300 co-writers.

Echosmith – I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day

Luthor Vandross – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Oh look! Our second Ghost, Steph and Fetch-it, The Tesla of Tunes, The Wizard of Wired, steps up with a re-write of the Owl City earworm and charms us like a kitty in a Santa hat.

Christmas with Steph

Harmony. Country. Brilliant Classic Song. Hotel Lobby. Hell Yeah!

Courage My Love – I’ll Be Home For Christmas

The Doo-Wop version of the Christmas chestnut goes nose to nose with Der Bingle’s classic recording and makes the song bop and weave. The ’50s Boy Bands still touch my rock and roll soul.

The Drifters – White Christmas

You don’t like Boy Bands? How can you not LOVE this? …and every note you hear are their voices. Ain’t an instrument in sight except these incredibly gifted artists.

Naturally 7 – Christmas Medley

James Taylor – River

YAY! Our last Christmas Ghostie comes front and center. It’s The Real Neil, The Neil of the Feels, The Curly Haired Viagra of Niagara, The Ace of Bass, the love child of Harpo and a Minion whose wan yet maniacal smile reminds us of Ringo and Harpo, leads us into the stretch. Take it away, Kid Carson….

Christmas with Neil

Celine Dion – The Christmas Song

This is the best version of this song, ever. No one was more surprised than me.

My Adele. My Favourite. My goodness, why isn’t this next artist the success on this side of the Atlantic that she should be. Maybe her North American tour will change that.

Rumer – Maybe This Christmas

…Because Santa has to dance and we don’t want him to lose his groove.

Chance, Travis, Walker, and Nate – Christmas Funk

Daryl Hall is truly an American treasure. His talent and ear for music and other great artist’s talent is undeniable. Christmas at Daryl’s House….

Hall and Oates – Take Back Christmas

Laugh if you want, but K-Pop, South Korea’s Virgin Radio/Pop Music/Max Martin genre is more melodic, charmingly written and infectious, without being smarmy, overly sexual, or embarrassingly desperate. Miley and Nicki-free music for young girls and boys that sends a message of both fun and class, and style and finesse. These girls get an education, a career, and all learn at least 3 languages during the course of their schooling. Also…dancing.

Girls Generation – Dear Santa (English Version)

I have included the entire seasonal album from my absolute favourite group of my absolute favourite players. This just effortless, A-list music and musicians, and perfect as background music for your Christmas dinner, or cranked up afterward so you can hear how wonderful these players are.

Fourplay – The Complete Snowbound Album

Sadly, there exists not one Christmas song by Rival Sons, Dirty Loops, or Saint Paul and the Broken Bones. Maybe next year….

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Segarini’s regular columns want Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men, and a decent natural casing all beef hot dog

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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