Saturday Night Serenade–Christmas Blues

Only two more weekends until Christmas!  Have you finished all your shopping?  Here at Chez R, we have not.  Finances being what they are, we’re scraping up what we can to put together what will be a lean Christmas for our loved ones.  Everyone should manage to get a little something, but it won’t be like it has been in years past.

Mr. R and I are last on the list, but that’s okay.  We have what’s important anyway, the kind of thing that can’t be wrapped and put under a tree.  And I’m perfectly content with that, as long as we get something out to the family.

I’m looking forward to Christmas Day itself.  It should be calm and bright, no hustle or bustle.  In fact, it will be the first day I can plan on sleeping late for the foreseeable future.

As content as I am, I’m still in the mood for a little Christmas blues, so I’m starting out with the incomparable B.B. King.  There are many versions of Merry Christmas Baby, but his is the best.

The second helping (the B-side, LOL) is Jon Bon Jovi with Please Come Home for Christmas.

I hope you’re snuggled warm and safe with those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.  Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–It’s the Holiday Season

I LOVE the Christmas season!   The tree is up and we’re all decorated here at Chez R.  I confess, our shopping isn’t finished yet, but it will be soon.  But I’m thrilled  for the holiday season.  November was brutal–bring on the Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men!

I’m also excited about all the great music.  I’ve had this Andy Williams holiday classic stuck in my head for days.

“…so hoop-de-do, and dickory dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock…”  It’s infectious.  It just makes me happy, so I hope you enjoy this tour of Christmastime Manhattan while Andy Williams sings.

There are so many great songs, it’s hard to choose.  I had to add this old standard with a Pentatonix twist.  I promise, it won’t be the last of their songs for the month of December.

I hope you’re with those you love tonight, all warm and safe.  Be sure to give them a hug.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–We Need a Little Christmas

Happy last Saturday of November!
If you’re in the US, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Here at Chez R, we had a nice, peaceful day, with a delicious meal for which we were truly thankful.

Have you ever felt like you need a little Christmas?
We live in Palm Beach County, and we just survived a nasty, contentious election season that ended with the recount from Hell.  Ultimately, I stopped caring about who won or lost.  Just get the friggin’ thing over with, and let’s get on with our lives.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost sight of the fact that we’re all on the same side.  We all love our country, and we believe in liberty and justice for all.  We all love our families, and we want to leave behind us a world that’s better than the one into which we were born.  It’s beyond disheartening to see everything turned into Us vs Them.

To be honest, I was ready to decorate for Christmas back in September.  I just wanted a little something to lift the spirits, to distract from the angry, spiteful, false, fear-based rhetoric lambasting us from all sides.

But this holiday weekend, Mr. R and I finally dragged in all the boxes from the garage and set up the tree.  He decorated the fireplace (since it’s still in the 80s, we won’t be needing it anytime soon), and we have a start on the outside lights.  Because we need a little Christmas now.

This version of the holiday classic is from the 1974 movie Mame, and it features the divine Lucille Ball.  If you need a little Christmas like I do, this should be just the thing.

I’ll leave you with a photo of our finished tree.  Normally there’s a cat curled up beneath it, but she must have wandered off.  It’s covered with ornaments we’ve gathered over the years, and things the kids made somewhere along the line.  Those are the most special decorations, now that they’re grown and out on their own.

I hope you’re still enjoying this long holiday weekend.  Be sure to hug the ones you love.

Happy Saturday night!

 

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Lazy November Evening

It’s HOT here today in south Florida.  Here it is, November, and the temps were in the high 80s today.  Which doesn’t feel at all like November.  A couple of weeks ago, it was cool enough one night to have a fire in the fireplace.

That’s what I’m in the mood for tonight.  A cozy fire, a nice glass of wine, and Norah Jones playing in the background.  Maybe we’ll do that anyway, minus the fire as the AC keeps the heat at bay.

How are you this fine evening?  Is the weather where you are more conducive to a nice fall night?

I hope you’re well.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Honoring Veterans

I’m thrilled to tell you about a great nonfiction book by my friend, author R. Grey Hoover.  KICKER is the true story of an often-overlooked part of World War II.  And in honor of Veterans Day, he’s giving it away for FREE!

Here’s the official description:

World War II is raging. A young father must choose between his family and duty to his country- a decision that could cost him everything.

Based on actual experiences of United States veterans and official military aviation history records from World War II, this is the thrilling story of a family’s journey into war. While his loved ones struggle with shortages and rationing at home, Sam endures relentless Japanese attacks against his unarmed aircraft over the treacherous mountains and torrid jungles of Asia. His job is to drop supplies to Merrill’s Marauders and over 750,000 allied soldiers fighting in the perilous jungles of Burma. If the enemy is not stopped, the American way of life will end.

If you like non-stop action with a touch of humor and romance and the chance to learn about the “forgotten front” of WWII, then this is the book for you.

How about an excerpt?

April 4, 1944 – Dinjan Airbase, India

Sam and Bobby Joe were totally exhausted when they crawled into their charpoys. The harrowing events of the day had taken its toll on them physically and mentally. In spite of the heat and noise of the jungle, Sam felt the blessed relief of sleep approaching soon after his head hit the pillow. However, as he drifted off, a feeling of unease came over him. It was a feeling that something was wrong, not here in India, but at home. He didn’t know if he felt uneasy because he still hadn’t received mail from home or because of some unknown reason, but the feeling stayed with him until he finally succumbed to his exhaustion and slipped into a deep sleep.

Thankfully, his slumber was not disturbed by his recurring nightmare, and he slept soundly until the wee hours of the morning when he suddenly awoke not knowing what had disturbed him. A light rain was falling outside, and except for an occasional flash of distant lightning, the basha was in total darkness. He lay very still, listening to the sounds around him. He strained his hearing, but no sound came except for the steady breathing of the sleeping men around him. After several minutes, he relaxed, thinking his imagination was playing tricks on him. He was almost asleep again when he thought he detected a faint unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in the basha. Once again, he listened intently, not sure he had heard anything; but then he heard the sound again—only this time it seemed closer, and he was sure it came from within the basha. He couldn’t quite place the sound, but it seemed like something soft brushing against an object. He listened closely, but all was silent. None of the other men in the basha stirred, and after an extended period of silence, he relaxed once again in anticipation of sleep.

He was in that dreamy state just before slumber when he felt the presence of something or someone nearby. Once again, his senses came to full alert, and he made a conscious effort not to move. He listened carefully, bringing all his senses to bear. He could see or hear nothing, and yet he was sure something was there. He was startled when someone at the other end of the room moved, but then all was silent once again. He was lying on his back, so he slowly moved his head to the right and scanned the darkness.

At first he saw nothing, but then attention was drawn to a slight movement at the foot of his bed. He couldn’t make out what it was. It appeared to be an undistinguishable shadow against the darker background of the room. As he watched, the shadow moved, and he held his breath as it silently glided along the side of his bed. There was no sound as it moved, and it slowly drew nearer and stopped near the head of his bed. He could tell that it was something large, but due to the extreme darkness, he was unable to see what it was. His instincts told him this was something dangerous and evil, and the hairs on the nape of his neck stood erect. At that moment, a distant flash of lightning faintly illuminated the scene, and in that instant of light, Sam could see the large form of a tiger standing beside him.

The animal’s head was enormous. Its eyes, momentarily reflecting light from the faraway lightning, gave the beast an evil, devil-like appearance. This was death incarnate staring directly at him.

Sam was frozen with fear, and his heart seemed to stop. His .45-caliber pistol hung on the wall not three feet away, and he cursed himself for not keeping it inside the mosquito netting with him. He knew the tiger could see that he was awake, and he feared any movement would cause it to attack. The animal stepped closer, and Sam could see its dim outline and smell its damp fur and the fetid odor of its breath. The tiger appeared to know its victim was helpless. The great beast took its time as it sniffed the mosquito netting as if testing its strength. Slowly it raised a huge paw and placed it against the puny impediment. The tiger’s claws caught in the netting, and with a mighty swipe, it ripped the flimsy material away from the bed.

Download KICKER for FREE .

 

About R. Grey Hoover:

R. Grey Hoover is an Air Force veteran with a family tradition of military service that dates back to the American revolution. He wrote his book “Kicker the forgotten front” to honor his father and the other veterans of World War II who fought in the China-Burma-India (CBI) theatre.  During the war, the European and Pacific theatres got most of the supplies and media attention leaving the CBI theatre with the leftovers. Even in today’s media coverage of World War II the CBI theatre is never mentioned. The author’s book is an attempt to correct this gross oversight.

R. Grey Hoover’s social media links:
Website https://rgreyh.wordpress.com/
Twitter https://twitter.com/rgreyhoover
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rgrey.hoover
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/rgreyhoover/

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Trick or Treat!

Trick or treat, y’all!  How are you this fine evening?

We’re mere days away from Halloween, and tonight’s serenade is a DIY Halloween dance party.  How could we possibly celebrate Halloween without Michael Jackson’s Thriller?

If you’re old like me, you remember the hype leading up to the release of the full-length (over 13 minutes long) video on December 2, 1983.  Directed by accomplished film director John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London), it was MTV’s first world premiere video.

All I know is, when the thing finally aired, I was blown away.  The story line, the makeup effects, the dancing…  But maybe the spoken word performance by horror movie icon Vincent Price put it over the top.

And I’ve had Whodini’s Freaks Come Out at Night running through my head all month long.  I think it’s in the background of a television commercial, but it’s absolutely worth posting here.

But if you know me at all, you know I can’t pass up the opportunity to bring out the Backstreet Boys and Everybody.  Okay, I confess that boy bands are something of a guilty pleasure, but seriously, watch the dancing–I’d compare it to the ghoulish street parade from Thriller any time.

So what would be on your Halloween playlist?  I’d love it if you’d comment below.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween.  Hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Ah Ooooh!

I love the odd, quirky, slightly spooky Werewolves of London by the late, great Warren Zevon.  It’s from his 1978 album, Excitable Boy.  The song was produced by Jackson Browne, and  backing vocals on the original recording feature Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

To me, it’s a fun song, especially for a cool October evening.

I will also say that in my opinion, Kid Rock ripped off the iconic riff of this song in his All Summer Long, which is supposed to be a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama.  Nope, not buying it, it’s Werewolves of London all the way.  I won’t dignify it by posting it here, but you can look it up on YouTube.

But as long as we’re talking monsters…
How about a little Frankenstein?  It’s Edgar Winter’s instrumental classic from the 1972 album, They Only Come Out at Night.

I hope you’re enjoying this October weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!