Chinese Food, Maker's Mark, and Me.
[Quotes stricken by WGAE President Michael Winship. He did allow me to replace them with a picture of a hot cup of tea, which you can see below.]
UPDATE: I just cleared one quote (thanks, Worldwide Pants Incorporated!):
"It's Jesus' birthday, but the tea is still too hot." -- Seth Galifianakis
( Click here to buy Christmas 1979)
Thee Headcoats - "Reindeer Are Wild"
( Click here to buy Heavens to Murgatroyd Even! Its Thee Headcoats! (Already))
Redd Kross - "Super Sunny Christmas"
( Click here to buy Santa's Got A GTO: Rodney On The ROQ's Christmas)
Shalini - "December Rose"
( Click here to buy The Surface and the Shine)
Statehood - "Transfixed"
( Click here to buy Lies and Rhetoric)
Bottomless Pit - "Dogtag"
( Click here to buy Hammer of the Gods)
Mekons - "Last Dance"
( Click here to buy Fear and Whiskey)
The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl - "Fairytale of New York"
( Click here to buy If I Should Fall from Grace with God)
The Scorpions ft. Werner and Rutager - "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!"
Now is the time for us to gather together and celebrate those things that we like and think are fun:
Tom, the Père Noël of radio, begins the late-December spectacular with some vocal exercises, but they fail to revive his voice. He's sick, but he's still here. Tom admits that he should be home resting, but he's chained to the studio for the next
five minutes three hours. He's also flying without his trusty sidekick, Mike the Associate Producer, who left him high and dry. Tom actually gave him the night off to avoid betraying him and tossing him under a bus to get Leotardingly squished on a holiday evening. He literally doesn't roll that way. Mike does his thing on the other side every week like a champ, and this year it earned him a deserved spot in the Best Show Hall of Fame.
Speaking of Mike, I think he really needs to inject some life into his stagnant Mayubernatorial campaign in early 2008, especially with competition from shrewd politicians like Glenn Danzig. Mr. Danzig appears to have a grasp on the key issues affecting Newbridge, detecting widespread institutional failure not unlike David Simon's The Wire, an incisive, wide-ranging urban exposé currently gearing up for its final campaign on Home Box Office. My advice: a new campaign manager and an H. Colvinesque push to convert Muffler Row into a drug-free zone. It would certainly reduce the strain on an overworked police force and increase support with law enforcement and dope-fiend leaners alike. As go the Germans, so goes Mike. Cue Klaus Meine's "Wind of Change" whistling, a perfect soundtrack for Mike's next pancake-centric rally. The election is only 7 months away!
Despite his illness, Tom promises to deliver the most exciting Christmas show ever broadcast. The programe will contain call-in segments,
prizes, and special guests. It's a gift for the dedicated live listeners, so the podcasters are s heeeeeeeeee-it out of luck. Tom compares the broadcast to a Grateful Dead performance that floats off the stage and into the ozone without getting captured by bootleggers. Tonight we're grooving out in The Scharpling Zone. Tom sips some of his Yuletide tea to preserve his enflamed throat, but it's too hot. It is not clear if Tom is attempting to drink the Bigelow green tea favored by narcoleptic pitchman Joe Torre, the former Yankees manager who has since moved on to the same post with the L.A. Dodgers. Weird-O-Wood should really embrace this dynamic personality, and Torre's decision to hire The Gorch as his third-base coach is a great first move. Tom back-announces the music, and tries the tea again. Still way too hot. He thinks it will be drinkable during the second hour.
Tom starts the show proper with a topic: What Did You Get For Christmas? He wants to warm things (but not his tea) up by hearing about the gifts that made listeners happy, sad, or mad. Tom thinks this should be easier than pie because all you have to do is rip paper and reveal what was inside. He hopes he's lucky enough to talk to a child who is listening on a transistor radio he got from Santa. With Mike off enjoying a relaxing comedy marathon, Tom is joined by a Christmas elf. He promptly sends her on a quest to retrieve King Vitamin's "No Presents For Christmas" 12" from the WFMU bin to fulfill a listener request. Tom makes an ill-advised return to the tea, and the liquid scorches his larynx. He announces that he will be furious and seek revenge on someone if he doesn't receive any calls this evening.
- Tim from Ellensburg, WA., calls to get the topic rolling, but he does not immediately reciprocate Tom's politically-correct Happy December Wishes. (Cyrus "Old Man" Dalrymple instituted the neutral term at the CC after trivilocity-impaired dock worker Lenny received repeated HR complaints for mocking Hannukah last year.) He agrees to gives the wishes with some prompting, but it's too late. Tom GOMPs the ingrate creep, suggesting that he may be furious and seek revenge on someone if he does receives calls this evening!
- Amber (and Jeb) in Chicago tries to get things back on track, but, more importantly, the tea is still hotter than Zeph Marshack's throat-boining vodka. They haven't opened the bulk of their presents yet, and Tom wonders if they are waiting for New Year's or February 12th. Amber says they are saving them until after dinner, having already made the rounds for family gift-giving. They are flipping it. Tom gets it now. They did receive one really awesome thing so far: Twin Peaks: The Definitive Gold Box Edition, which makes up for hideous cover art by including the elusive pilot episode. Amber and Jeb are excited about the exhaustive set, and Tom thinks (wrapped!) dead people are a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit. Amber is looking forward to some warm and fuzzy cheer courtesy of David Lynch. She's a big fan of the show, but she doesn't consider herself a full-on "Peaks Freak." Tom's favorite Lynch work is his awesome, age-and-gravity-defying coiffure. Amber prefers his acting. Tom is impressed that a 90-year-old guy is walking around with a full head of hair. Amber suspects he's using Rogaine, but Tom says it's pure genetics. He thinks Lynch could chop down a tree with his hair.
Tom asks Amber what she got Jeb, but she can't say because he's standing next to her. She was stocking up on Superbad paraphernalia for her brother and spotted a cute girl Superbad t-shirt that she hopes to receive later tonight. Amber says she resisted buying it for herself because it was Christmas time, but she did send Jeb a link to drop the hint. Jeb informed her that he only wanted gifts purchased at Hot Topic, a popular chain store that caters to emo-punk-metal-goth teens. Amber granted his wish. (My fave gift this year was a cool Avenged Sevenfold keychain from Hot Topic. Thanks, Grandma!) Tom wonders if Jeb is 14 or some weirdo "cool" teacher. Amber says Jeb is cool, but he's not employed as an educator. She believes only a creepy teacher would shop at Hot Topic. Tom says Amber better hope he never goes into teaching because she just attributed creepiness to that career transition. Jeb tells Amber that he has a question, and Tom agrees to get it over with. Jeb is excited to be a first-time/longtime, and he makes an inauspicious debut with a triple-steamroll (holiday ode to Henry Owings?). Tom isn't pleased, but he reminds himself that he must remain calm on Christmas. Jeb says that he saw the trailer for the new Rob Reiner cancer laffer The Bucket List, and he wants to know what items are in Tom's bucket. Tom GOMPs him for doing press for Paramount Pictures and trying to switch up the topic.
- Listener T calls from
California the bosom of his family in Connecticut to wish Tom a Merry Christmas. Tom reminds him that he's only allowed to say Happy December Wishes on the air. LT amends his offering to Good Tidings For The Season and throws in some Happy January Wishes. The tea is still too hot. Since Jeb failed to derail the topic, LT reports that he got a TomTom GPS navigational system so he no longer has to curse his erroneous GoogleMaps printouts. He generally knows where he is going with an L.A. Thomas Guide, but he appears to be very happy with the thoughtful device that all of his siblings and their spouses chipped in to purchase. He learned early on that hard copy publications were more reliable than Intronet maps. The tea is still too hot. LT says that he will skip a subscription to a traffic update service in favor of sticking with XM's traffic station. He prefers to remain ignorant of the fact that it will take him an hour to reach a destination three miles away.
Tom tells LT that he got a portrait of his beloved, human-flesh-and-blood-craving Dogmo, painted in multiples like Andy Warhole's Marilyn Monroe Diptych." LT is impressed and mentions that a couple of years ago a friend of his found a service that will actually create a paint-by-numbers set of your pet for the artistically inclined DIYers on your list. LT also got some art: a painting of a large chocolate ice cream cone on a round piece of particle board from his FOT SS. He cannot remember the name of this SS member. I think it was Odilo in Hackensack. LT and Quimby plan to proudly display the piece in their kitchen. LT sent "demartino"Chris Ware-curated McSweeney's Issue #13 and a CD he commissioned from The Sound of Young America host Jesse Thorns. The disc contains all three interviews Thorns conducted with Tom, as well as the glorious, longform S&W AST Radio interview from earlier this year. Tom wonders if LT included the call where he GOMPed Jesse for trying to have it both ways and not own up to his NPR ambitions. He didn't put that on the CD. He also didn't include the clip of Tom ripping the subsequent bit of Jordan Derek GO! fan-fic where the duo concocted a horribly performed skit regarding Tom urging Thorns to kick Derrick Stone, his unfunny podcast partner, out of the kitchen.
"You are dressed ridiculous. You look like a clown." - Borat Sagdiyev on Derrick Stone's Uncle Sam costume
Tom thinks Jesse is a Good Guy, but he can't handle Mr. Stone's stylings. LT thinks his name is actually Jordan something, but he is mistaken. Tom hopes Stone is as successful as his talent can take him. LT believes Stone has expanded his media assault to include a television show on FUEL TV, a network that makes G4 look like CNN. He thinks FUEL only penetrates about 10% of cable households. Tom concludes that he could be on more screens (6) if he was caught on the Gimbel's security camera in the parking garage. Stone is indeed a correspondent for FUEL's The Daily Habit, a nightly pop-culture highlight package. LT will return to the West Coast on Thursday morning via an aeroplane departing from John Fitzgerald Kennedy aeroport. Tom wishes him a Happy New Year and a safe flight.
- Matt in East Orange calls to wish Tom a Merry Christmas and contribute to the topic. The tea is still too hot. Matt was the happiest about the combination safes he gave his cousins' two kids, ages 6 and 9. He explains that their parents went through an acrimonious divorce a couple of years ago, so he assumed the kids wanted a secure container to keep their report cards and assorted trinkets. Tom wonders if their domestic situation is similar to This Boy's Life, the film adaptation of the Tobias Wolff memoir. Matt cannot confirm the plot similarities because he has not seen it. Tom mentions that the kids could also store their U.S. Savings Bonds -- the dreaded double-E tease -- in the safes, but he urges them to tell relatives not to bother with these immature IOUs. He suspects that if a child purchased a toy and kept it sealed, they could also double their money in the secondary nostalgia market in 20 years. Matt is concerned that the market may dry up, but Tom is confident that people will never stop caring about the memettos of their childhoods. He wants Matt to get his head in the game.
Tom thinks a safe is a nice gift for a kid because it makes them feel more like a grown-up. The tea is still too hot. Matt admits that they were not playing with the safes after they opened them on Christmas Eve night, but he believes they will actually make use of them. Matt got the usual gifts, including the classic Christmas staple: a bathroom scale. Tom asks him if the family does all their shopping at Kohl's. Matt denies the exclusive deal with the retailer, but he's pretty sure the scale came from there. Tom determines that Matt is the L7 uncle because he didn't put anything crazy in the safe. I would have hired Kumar Pallana to come over on Christmas morning to juggle, laugh, and crack nem safes.
- Laurie calls from Miami, but Tom isn't sure if she's on Terra Firma or floating around in the family's dirigible. While they don't own an aerostatic vessel, Laurie has access to one near her office building. (Contact Aziz!) Tom assumes she owns the building, but her family doesn't have that much property ... yet. Laurie says anyone can rent the dirigible at a rate of $20 for a half-hour float, although she's never seen it untethered for an actual voyage. Tom bets that after one call to father, the airship would be cut loose for a Wonka-like blast-off into the Miami sky. He thinks that would have been a nice Christmas Eve treat for Laurie. Up and out! Laurie says there is a quick cut-away to her office building in an episode of King of Miami. She's a fan of the Dave Hill program, and she saw him perform earlier this year at the original UCB Theatre in NYC. He did a sort-of stand-up storytelling thing as a warm-up to an interview with the guy who walked off The Daily Show. Laurie cannot recall his name, so Tom throws out former contributors Mo Rocca, Vance DeGeneres, and Nancy Walls as possible interviewees. Laurie says it was a former producer, and Tom is stumped.
Laurie asks Tom about his Christmas, and he says it was great because he's here with all his friends. He claims that there is nowhere he'd rather be on this night than with his loyal listeners. Laurie does not completely buy what Tom is selling. She asks him if he's attempting to drink peppermint tea to soothe his symptoms. Tom is actually drinking a special concoction made by a doctor, and Laurie wonders if the doctor is legit. Tom jokingly suggests his practitioner is Dr Pepper. Laurie explains that she thought it might be an Eastern medicine man. Tom inquires about Laurie's medical license, and she says she was simply prescribing peppermint tea as a functional and festive beverage. Tom wonders if an illness in, say, August would also trigger a seasonal elixir like pineapple or guava tea. Laurie cannot think of festive August things. Tom reminds her about Labor Day, and he appears to be disappointed that she discounted the value of those who served our country bravely. Laurie says she also gets that day off. Tom's not sure what to do with her other than moving on.
- Matt in Bethlehem, PA., calls to wish Tom a Merry Christmas, and Tom wishes him a Happy December Festival Festive Event Day. Matt says he didn't get much, but he got everything he needed. Tom asks him if he could be a little more vague. Matt says he got some sheets for his bed, some weights, some clothes, and had the chance to spend some time with his family and friends. Sheets. Weights. Safes. Scales. Tom wants to know what's up with all the boring Christmas presents this year. Matt says that's what he wanted, and Tom accepts it. Matt says thanks, but Tom tells him that he didn't get him anything. Matt is gathered around the radio with his friends Bill and Michael for a night of old-timey fun. Tom asks Matt how long he's known them, and Bill suddenly gets on the line. Tom GOMPs him because he didn't ask to speak to him. He did not dial a 1-900 Party Line.
- A caller's "Heeeelllloooo, Tom" greeting suggests a mellow Spike, but it's just Dan in Rochester. He says his list was short, but he's enjoying some of the Maker's Mark he got from a co-worker/friend. Dan is no longer drinking alone since he's chatting with Tom on the radio. Tom compares the lonely scenario to the Nicolas Cage comedy Leaving Las Vegas. Dan denies making slurred requests for alcohol -- it was simply a thoughtful gift from someone who also appreciates drinking. Most of Dan's family lives in New Jersey and not-as-upstate New York, and he declined an invitation from his ex in-laws in the Rochester area. Tom wonders if his Christmas dinner was a Pine Barrens-style condiment spread. Dan says he opted for the Jewish tradition of Chinese food. Tom asks him if he dipped any pretzels into mustard jars. He did not.
Tom thinks it sounds like the greatest Christmas ever, and Dan says his brother called him from their mother's house to say the same thing. Tom can only imagine what is going on in his brother's head if he's jealous of Dan's evening of whisky-fueled solitude. Dan doesn't think it's that bad. Tom thinks it's probably fun to get drunk alone in your apartment, but Dan informs him that he's livin' large in a house. Tom points out that it would be less depressing if he lived in an apartment. Despite his teasing, Tom wishes Dan the best for 2008. He wants Dan to guess what he got him for Christmas. Dan has no idea. Tom says he got him a thing where he will come home from work to see his family and Tom prepared to sit him down and talk to him about why he has to stop drinking. Dan thinks the intervention is a sweet present. Tom says he can look for that soon and recommends having a suitcase packed.
- Mike in Manhattan calls to follow up on Tom's negative Juno review, and he's in luck because he's talking to Tom. Mike says he wished he listened to the critique before seeing the film because he'd have an additional $24 in his pocket. (He also paid for his ladyfriend.) Mike says he was more incensed by The New York Times piece Tom discussed in which prevert author David Carr obsessed over Ms. Busey-Hunt's stripper past, trotting out a neverending parade of metaphors based on the maneuvers common to her craft. Mike penned a rebuttal to the piece to show people how easy it is to write for the paper of record. Tom wants to hear this, although he's a little uneasy with the risque opening: "She used to straddle the laps of excited men -- now she straddles our imagination." Tom has newfound respect for Mr. Carr's prose and GOMPs Mike.
- After clearing up some confusion about her on-air status, Sarah from Lubec, Maine expresses sorrow about Tom's sickly sounds. Tom confirms that he's horribly ill, and he thinks he's very brave to do the show in this condition. Sarah believes his efforts are an inspiration to everyone. Tom announces that he's not showing up on New Year's Day, and Sarah is pleased to hear that he will take off on at least one of these foolish holidays. She points out that Tom often suffers because he does too much for his listeners. Tom does not dispute any of this.
Sarah had a quiet holiday because she hasn't seriously celebrated Christmas in many years. Her lone gift came from her celebrity FOT SS: HOFer Jason of Engaland. Jason got Sarah, the official FOT board Grammar Nazi, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, Omega Tribe's No Love Lost LP (I made that one up), and a hooded sweatshirt (or "hoodie" as my teenaged cousin likes to call them) with the word "Newbridge" emblazoned across its front. Tom informs Sarah that this is unauthorized merchandise. He instructs her to mail him the evocative-yet-illegal garment so he can shred it and plans to file lawsuits against both parties involved in this gift exchange. Sarah got Mickey "Scraps" Delacroix, a renowned baker of sourdough breads, organic hand-milled flour and grains (+ a recipe courtesy her sister Martha) and some Stanley Elkin books that MSD expressed an interest in. Tom thinks the operative word for these gifts is "thoughtful."
Sarah had fun putting the gifts together, and she recommends that Tom participate in the nice SS institution. Tom says he's banned because it would skew the entire enterprise with people resorting to bribery to pull his name. He then admits that he simply lost track of the thread and forgot to sign up by the deadline. Sarah says that if Tom can overcome his cold and stay alive, there's always next year. Tom coughs and recalls the kidney stone that erupted nine months ago live on the air. He thinks he may be taking it to the next level by dying on the air. Sarah hopes that Tom feels better and can finally drink his tea. No such luck. Still too hot. Sarah understandably questions the origins of a tea that hasn't cooled off in the past hour, and Tom reveals that it was brewed in the depths of Hell. Sarah speculates that this demonic tea will blast the venom out of him. Tom thought she said "blast the denim", some kind of hip Northeast Maine lingo. Sarah considers trying to introduce the phrase into the vernacular. Tom doesn't like it. He loves it. In 2008, "Oh, dee-uh" will be the new "Ew, buoy." Mark my words.
[More To Come, including: Therese & Ted & Jodi & Jillian.]
On the next ... The Best Show on WFMU: ABC's Matthew Tompkins promotes the premiere of the network's strike-induced skein Wednesday Night Whirlyball! (first match: Camera Obscura vs. Clockcleaner), Scooch one-ups the "Mitchell Report" with the key findings in his Baseball Drug Stuff sheaf: The Big Red Machine (minus Dave Concepción), the 1986 Mets (minus Tim Teufel), and the 1995 Braves (including pitching coach Leo Mazzone) were all juicier than Steven Blue, and Officer Harrups recalls a wild Newbridge New Year's Eve that included 37 drug busts and Reggie Monroe rummaging around behind a nativity scene. Oh, and The Best Show begins its final year on the air! Or not!
One thing is certain. King Vitamin gets the last laugh(s) for the 2007 Recap Run:
No Presents for James!