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I think everyone is pretty much familiar with the “Chuck Norris Facts” floating around the net (Chuck Norris sleeps with a nightlight. Not because Chuck Norris is afraid of the dark, but because the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.). Well, Chuck is in trouble, because here comes Jack Bauer! Time for some Jack Bauer facts!

Top 5 personal favorites:

-Life doesn’t give Jack Bauer lemons. Life asks him which fruit he wants.

-The city of Los Angeles once named a street after Jack Bauer in gratitude for his saving the city several times. They had to rename it after people kept dying when they tried to cross the street. No one crosses Jack Bauer and lives.

-When asked what he got on his S.A.T’s, Jack Bauer promptly responded “Blood.”

-Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty. Jack Bauer see the glass as a deadly weapon.

and finally…

-It’s no use crying over spilt milk… Unless that was Jack Bauer’s milk. Oh you are so screwed.

Did you hear that? I think Chuck Norris just wet himself.

...And knowing is half the battle...
Ah, GI Joe. One of the most enduring toys of my childhood. Other lines of toys came and went, but the Joes and Legos stayed interesting through them all. I had a metric shitload of Joes and Joe-related-paraphernalia, and I loved every bit of it. Looking back on it though, some of it was really, really lame. So let’s count it down:
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If asked I will pretty much contend that there hasn’t been a decent new Christmas / Holiday song written in the last 20 years. (Though Sufjan Steven’s latest Christmas themed opus “Songs For Christmas” is making me reconsider this position.) Sure there have been great covers of the “standards” but lets be honest here, the heyday of original Pop Xmas songs coincides with the birth of rock & roll in the late 1950’s. That being said here are the 5 greatest “orginial” (as far as I know) Christmas Songs of the 1950’s/1960’s

5. “Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms

I always thought this song was done by Bill Haley and the Comets since it sounded so much like “Rock Around the Clock”. In fact it even uses the line “Rock around the clock” in the song. Anyhow to me this is just a classic early Rock Holiday song, with the little lead guitar fills and a great “update” of a holiday classic.

4. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee Jingle Bell Rock

Another one of those iconic holiday songs from the era. It’s got all the classic elements, the electric guitar fills with the treble way up, the gospel-ish backing singers (ala Elvis), and the killer sax solo towards the middle. (What is it with sax solos in late 1950’s rock n roll songs by the way?).

3. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – Darlene Love A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector

Only five words are needed to describe why this song is great…. “Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound”.

2. “Little Saint Nick” – The Beach Boys Christmas With the Beach Boys

I’m sure this selection will spark various reactions depending on where you fall on the Beach Boys debate (classic american band or annoying as hell). I myself tend to view them as a great American Rock band w/ flashes of annoyance. But you can’t discredit the brilliance of Brian Wilson and his ability to arrange a song. While “Little Saint Nick” is a classic Beach Boys song in that it’s pretty much about a souped up car err… sled, and it’s got that classic Southern California “sound” it’s got great harmonies and a catchy beat. The only internal arguement I can come up with against the song is that it’s been used in those Coke commericals with polar bears and penguins.

1. “Blue Christmas ” – Elvis Presley Elvis Christmas

My favorite holiday song of all time. It’s classic Elvis, with his distinct phrasing, the gospel-ish backing singers and the great little guitar riff used through out. Besides it’s not a song about happiness, peace and love. It’s about a guy who’s blue cuz’ he’s alone on Christmas. It’s almost like an e-mail or voice-mail someone might send to an ex to make them feel miserable just for spite. It’s the ultimate Christmas “spite” song….. Genius.

Elvis Xmas

5. “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” – Vs.
4. “Betterman” – Vitalogy
3. “Daughter” – Vs.
2. “Porch” – Ten
1. “Yellow Ledbetter” – Lost Dogs

Pearl Jam’s “Yellow Ledbetter” may be music’s greatest B-Side. It’s Hendrix-esque intro is a melancholy masterpiece. The lyrics are almost completely impossible to understand, but the feelings behind the lyrics come through loud and clear. Major props to Mike McCready for the intro and the solo.

As amazing as the song is, it’s even more amazing that the song didn’t appear on a “normal” Pearl Jam album. It first showed up on the B-side to “Jeremy”, but was apparently recorded at the same time as Ten. It didn’t appear on a full album until Lost Dogs, and then on their Greatest Hits collection, rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003).

The guitar sound on the intro has pretty much defined the perfect blues tone for me. If anyone knows what the rig is behind it, please drop me a line and let me know.

So here it is. My first (hopefully annual) list of music awards. The best of the good, the worst of the bad, and the ugliest of ugly. Note: This music wasn’t all new in 2006. It was just new to ME. And without further ado…
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