Songs Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christmas music lately (obvious). So I thought I would do a post about my top ten favorite Christmas songs. I got halfway through the list when they said we could leave work early so I chopped it to five so I can get out of here.

5. Dean Martin - A Marshmallow World

This is the most famous version of this song recorded by the coolest man to ever live. No real significance to this tune. Nothing profound about it. It’s just a fun, bouncy song performed by a funny old drunk.

4. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Red Norvo with Mildred Bailey

Here’s a nice version of this song from 1937. Known as Mr and Mrs Swing, Red and Mildred were highly influential to Depression-era Jazz. This is more of a winter song than a Christmas song so you don’t hear it too much around the holidays, but Mildred’s vocal expressiveness here makes it a classic.

3. Poklon Jezusowi – Poznanskie Slowiki

I have a soft spot for chorale music. Poznanskie Slowiki is a chorus I discovered about four years ago that is not only from Poznan, which is my ancestral part of Poland (the name translates to “The Poznan Nightingales”), but is an accomplished choir with a rich history of Christmas arrangements. Poklon Jezusowi, which means “bow down before Jesus”, is my favorite song on their Christmas album “Za Gwiazda”. I had to place it high on this list.

2. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl

They sobered Shane MacGowan up long enough to record this classic from the Pogues album “If I Should Fall From Grace With God”. The song is about an Irish immigrant sleeping one off in the New York City drunk tank on Christmas Eve who is reminiscing about a failed relationship. The song becomes a duet between MacGowan and the late British singer Kirsty MacColl as the two alcoholic lovers who blame each other for ruining their lives and crushing their dreams. I love this song because it isn’t afraid to admit that, for many, Christmas is a time of regrets.

1. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Band Aid/ Band Aid II/ Band Aid 20

Since 1984, the proceeds, vendor profits and VAT from all versions of this record have been donated to The Band Aid Charitable Trust which has handed out over £93 million to famine relief projects across Africa. While it isn’t the catchiest tune and it doesn’t have the most profound lyrics (although I use “clanging chimes of doom” a lot in everyday conversation), I can’t think of a Christmas song that has done more good for the world.

Other songs that might have made the list if I had to work a full day:

- Celia Cruz – El Cha Cha Cha de la Navidad
- Cocteau Twins – Winter Wonderland
- Queen – Thank God It’s Christmas
- Run-DMC – Christmas In Hollis
- Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
- Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight)
- "Weird Al" Yankovic - Christmas At Ground Zero
- Bing Crosby & David Bowie - Little Drummer Boy

Unfortunate Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This year, the poor kid in the picture almost didn't get a birthday cake. Anyone care to guess his name? Click here for the answers to all of your questions.

Screaming Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tonight was my nephew Simon's Christmas pageant at his school. He is in Kindergarten this year and something that I have learned about Kindergartners is that they love to perform. For your entertainment, here is my cell phone video of the whole screeching performance.

Happy Thursday, November 27, 2008

Royal Monday, November 17, 2008

People who know me know that I like to gamble. I go to Vegas a couple times each year and hit the casinos in Detroit when I can. It's just my thing and I've gotten pretty good at it over the years. So I was sitting around tonight playing online poker and watching "Cool As Ice" on HBO when I picked up the second royal flush of my life. This time I was able to get a screen shot so I thought I'd post it and brag a little.

Yup Yup... Let's G-O..

The odds for this calculate like so:

There are a total of 2,598,960 five card poker hands that can be made from a 52 card deck:

(52*51*50*49*48)/5! = 311,875,200/120 = 2,598,960

There are four ways to make a Royal Flush

A,K,Q,J,10 of spades
A,K,Q,J,10 of clubs
A,K,Q,J,10 of diamonds
A,K,Q,J,10 of hearts

2,598,960/4 = 649,740 so that's a 1 in 649,740 chance or
1/649,740 = 0.000154%

Reunited Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is a great thing...

Suggestions Thursday, November 6, 2008

As President-Elect Obama starts his transition process, I have a few suggestions that he may want to consider.

Chicago is one of the finalist cities for the 2016 Summer Olympics. As a wildly popular new President from Chicago, it shouldn’t be a problem to use your new influence as a world figure to seal the deal.

When you receive your first daily security briefing later this afternoon, the first questions you ask should revolve around space aliens, UFOs and any colonization efforts that may be underway. Oh, also, the Kennedy assassination, the Trilateral Commission, the ruling council of the Illuminati, the warehouse that stores the Ark of the Covenant, reverse vampires, Al Qaeda determined to attack U.S., weather control by the space shuttle, the current whereabouts of Tupac, the final Clinton body count, Project HAARP, reverse speech, remote viewing, the real purpose of water fluoridation, black oil, the smallpox vaccination genetic catalogue program, and the Templi Resurgentes Equites Synarchici are all things that may be of great interest.

Commit to space exploration. Either give NASA a larger budget and project guidance or release public funds to private companies to develop commercial space applications. I sound like a giant dork here, but the great dream of my life is space tourism. Any public funding commitment to space technologies gets me closer to the possibility of dreams becoming reality.

For the love of God… no spinners on the Presidential limo.


I was thinking that if I’m really going to make an effort at keeping a regular blog, I need to set some parameters for what I write about. Anyone who really knows me can tell you that I have a spectacular talent for tangential and digressive conversation. I have no doubt I would irritate the hell out of all two of my readers if I just went at it with no actual structure, so a level of Strategic Planning is very necessary. To that end, here is the Mission Statement for Swift, Licit and Valid:

“Swift Licit and Valid exists to capture the ever changing, daily interests of the author for the informational and entertainment purposes of its audience. The basic purpose of this blog is simple and timeless. When ordinary daily activities and thoughts are documented with sufficient levels detail and snark, then the brand is successfully nurtured and given the sweet, sweet attention it so painfully craves. This is the key for meeting the main obligation to provide readers a consistently pointless, time wasting experience that is indistinguishable from millions of other blogs filled with the same nonsense.”

Pretty vauge, eh? Well, I need to allow myself to breathe.

Aside from getting off topic, though, another of my horrible personal habits that won’t translate well to the written word is that I often try to only amuse myself with references or in-jokes that make sense to just me or a few other people. This is another phenomenon that is not all that unique to the blogosphere and, frankly, the whole self-referential irony thing has really played itself out. That’s why I am a generally lame person, though. I don’t make any effort to keep up with current rhetorical standards. Pretty much what I concern myself with now are the same things I latched onto in my teens and twenties. Politics, stupid movies, scatological humor and misplaced self importance are the order of the day. I’m also very into self deprecating humor but I’ll leave it up to reader to decide if that’s what I’m doing now.

So, a few things to keep in mind as you read this:

  • When I post here I’m almost always trying to amuse myself.
  • The only people who actually read this blog think I’m annoying and a dumbass.
  • I will never insult friends or family. At least not publicly. If I say something about someone that sounds sort of mean, I’m joking.

There you have it. These are the mission and rules of Swift, Licit and Valid.

First Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In the past I've kept blogs for very targeted purposes. Writing about specific vacations or commenting on sports are a few of the things I've focused on with very limited success. I've never kept a general blog where I post whatever crap seems to interest me at the moment. On this day in particular there seems to be a sense of renewal, as if we are on the verge of some large scale societal paradigm shift. I can't think of a better time to start a blog of nonsense than in the shadow of such an event.

There is another reason for this whole thing, though. I have a friend who is constantly in need of attention. It got to the point recently where the she was openly soliciting comments from myself and others on her blog. While we regularly email, I felt bad that she had to resort to such measures for additional personal validation so I setup an account here that I can use to give her the appreciation she so craves. I figured I could annoy her and her friends and family with stupid, in-joke comments that only myself and some random kid I knew when I was twelve would find funny. Then I realized that by taking the opportunity to start one of these I could reach a much broader audience for that kind of nonsense.

Of course by calling out my friend for her attention whoring ways in this, my first post, is probably my own sad call for acknowledgement. At some level that's probably the nature of anyone who writes one of these so I should probably take it easy on my poor friend. Sorry B. I guess I needed to walk a mile in your shoes to completely understand.