The Spectacle Blog

My Twelve Favorite Christmas Songs Revisited

By on 12.23.14 | 12:55PM

I was intrigued to read what Emily considers to be the worst Christmas song ever written. Now I must confess I've never heard "The Christmas Shoes", but I do concur with her where it concerns "Last Christmas" regardless of who sings it. I also haven't heard Céline Dion's version of "Feliz Navidad" and am inclined to avoid it despite having recently read Carl Wilson's treatise on bad taste concerning her album Let's Talk About Love.

But I must part company with Emily when she includes John Lennon's "Happy X-Mas (War is Over)" and Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmas Time". I included both of them in my list of my twelve favorite Christmas songs several years ago.

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The Worst Christmas Song Ever

By on 12.23.14 | 12:11PM

So, I'm traveling today, which means that, unless Jesus performs a miracle on my iPad keyboard, it's likely this is the only post you'll get from me for at least a couple of hours. Which means, of course, that I have to make it good, right?

I want to talk Christmas songs. Not the kind you sing in church, but the kind you've been hearing on that one radio station that flipped its programming to Christmas music just after Labor Day and has been haranging you with approximately 80000 versions of the same eight songs for three months. There are some truly terrible Christmas songs. And in the spirit of the congenial debate often at play in this blog, I want to declare that there is a Most Terrible. 

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Joe Cocker, R.I.P.

By on 12.22.14 | 8:01PM

Singer Joe Cocker passed away today of lung cancer. He was 70.

The British born Cocker came to international performance with his cover of The Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends" at Woodstock in the summer of 1969. I remember when I went to see Michael Lang talk about Woodstock a few years ago, he spoke about Cocker who he later managed. Cocker was often compared to Ray Charles and Lang assumed Cocker was black. The voice didn't match the body

Cocker would also be remembered for his interpretation of other songs such as The Box Tops' hit "The Letter" with a little help from Leon Russell on piano, the Dennis Wilson-Billy Preston collaboration "You Are So Beautiful To Me" and, if you were a sentient being in 1982, you heard the Buffy Sainte-Marie penned "Up Where We Belong", a duet with Jennifer Warnes. 

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NYC Anti-Police Protesters Must Live With the Consequences of Their Words

By on 12.22.14 | 4:23PM

I would like to share with you the last two paragraphs of an article in The New Republic by Claire Groden titled "Don't Blame Protesters for the Murder of Two New York Cops":

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The DNC Issues a Helpful Handbook for Ruining Christmas

By on 12.22.14 | 4:16PM

Back around Thanksgiving, Think Progress released a set of talking points that liberals could take with them to the Thanksgiving dinner table just in case someone got a little to hopped up on cranberry sauce and started in on Obamacare. It was full of not-super-helpful, poorly-researched "facts" that could be easily accessed between courses, turning what would otherwise be a quietly resentful family gathering into an all out blood feud.

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The Internet is Out in North Korea

By on 12.22.14 | 3:57PM

Apparently, they actually do have Internet. Or...erm...they did.

According to the New York Times, North Korea is now suffering a complete Internet blackout. What appears to be a Denial of Service Attack (or DDOS attack) is targeting North Korean routers, and all of North Koreas 1200 IP addresses have gone dark. 

North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network failures in years.

The loss of service came just days after President Obama pledged that the United States would launch a “proportional response” to the recent attacks on Sony Pictures, which government officials have linked to North Korea. While an attack on North Korea’s networks was suspected, there was no definitive evidence of it.

Doug Madory, the director of Internet analysis at Dyn Research, an Internet performance management company, said that North Korean Internet access first became unstable late Friday. The situation worsened over the weekend, and by Monday, North Korea’s Internet was completely offline.

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Woman Who Inspired #illridewithyou Campaign Following Sydney Terror Attacks Admits She Made The Whole Thing Up

By on 12.22.14 | 3:12PM

Following last week's terrorist attack in a Sydney cafe by a Muslim radical which claimed the lives of two people, a Twitter campaign called #illridewithyou was launched after a Facebook post by Rachael Jacobs who claimed she saw a Muslim woman remove her head scarf on a commuter train in fear that she would be attacked. Jacobs said she followed the Muslim woman when they departed the train to comfort her. 

The Australian media ate it up praising it as an act "that will restore your faith in humanity" in the wake of alleged anti-Islamic sentiment that had surfaced following the attacks.

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North Korea Has Found Source of Hacks, Will Blow Up White House Now

By on 12.22.14 | 1:06PM

We all know that our government is taking the hacks on Sony Entertainment very seriously. We know this because President Obama held a Very Serious Press Conference on Friday, where he only called on Very Serious Reporters, who asked Very Serious Questions about his Very Serious Response to a corporate hacking.

According to President Obama, Sony tried to go it alone, found they were incapable of handling such an attack on their technology and now he'll be stepping in to handle their problems. Sony, on the other hand, quickly noted that they had asked the White House for help with the hack some time ago, and despite their regular contributions to Barack Obama's campaign coffers, no one picked up the phone in the Oval Office. But they're happy to have the help now, they guess. 

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Al Sharpton Worried You’ve Forgotten About Him Since Yesterday

By on 12.22.14 | 12:38PM

The events of this weekend are horrifying. Two NYPD officers are dead in an unprovoked attack that seems to have been cheered by at least a segment of the public. A child has been left fatherless, sentiments on both sides of a heated debate have been ignited, and a city is in mourning. 

But before you go discussing the relative impact of philosophies and agendas on the state of race relations in America, or consider how inflammatory remarks from community leaders may have ultimately worsened the situation, please remember that there is only one real victim here, and that is Al Sharpton, who held a press conference yesterday lest his "leadership" get dropped from the news cycle.

[T]he Rev. Al Sharpton, who has called for peaceful protests, condemned “eye-for-an-eye” violence and called it absurd to blame protesters or politicians for the officers’ deaths.

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Quin Hillyer on Rand Paul: He’s No Conservative; He’s a Quack

By on 12.22.14 | 10:47AM

Over at NRO, our old friend Quin Hillyer makes mincemeat of Rand Paul's arguments in support of President Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba. He further goes on to question Paul's fitness for higher office. Here is how Quin begins his piece:

With his enthusiastic support for Barack Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) again shows that his foreign-policy views are wrongheaded. With his bizarre mislabeling of his views and of those who disagree, Paul shows himself (yet again) to be truly ignorant about foreign affairs. And with his juvenile, nasty, strangely personal attacks on fellow Republican senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Paul shows himself temperamentally unsuited for the presidency.

Rand Paul is no conservative; he’s a quack.


Read the rest here.

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