Holiday Hits: Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

No one does this better than Nat King Cole..

Courtesy of ReyDLT1957:

“The Christmas Song” is a classic Christmas song, written in 1944 by vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé , the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool,” the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.

“I saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil,” Tormé recalled. “They started, `Chestnuts roasting … Jack Frost nipping … Yuletide carols … Folks dressed up like Eskimos.’ Bob (Wells, co-writer) didn’t think he was writing a song lyric. He said he thought if he could immerse himself in winter he could cool off. Forty minutes later that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics.”

The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. At Cole’s behest (and over the objections of his label, Capitol Records), a second recording was made the same year utilizing a small string section, this version becoming a massive hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Cole re-recorded the song in 1953 and again in 1961, using the same arrangement with a full orchestra; the latter recording is generally regarded as definitive and continues to receive considerable radio airplay each holiday season, while Cole’s original 1946 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. Mel Tormé himself eventually recorded his own versions in 1954 and again in 1965.

The song is typically subtitled with its opening line (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”); in some cases, most notably with Cole’s recordings, the song’s closing line (“Merry Christmas to You”) is used as a subtitle instead…

December 13, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment, Jazz, Music, Popular Culture. 7 comments.

PEBO announces HUD Secretary in Saturday address….


PEBO announced in his Saturday address that he has selected Shaun Donovan to run HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, from the transition site:

…To stem the rising tide of foreclosures and strengthen our economy, I’ve asked my economic team to develop a bold plan that will dramatically increase the number of families who can stay in their homes. But this plan will only work with a comprehensive, coordinated federal effort to make it a reality. We need every part of our government working together — from the Treasury Department to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the agency that protects the money you’ve put in the bank. And few will be more essential to this effort than the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

From providing shelter to those displaced by Katrina to giving help to those facing the loss of a home to revitalizing our cities and communities, HUD’s role has never been more important. Since its founding, HUD has been dedicated to tearing down barriers in access to affordable housing — in an effort to make America more equal and more just. Too often, these efforts have had mixed results.

That is why we cannot keep doing things the old Washington way. We cannot keep throwing money at the problem, hoping for a different result. We need to approach the old challenge of affordable housing with new energy, new ideas, and a new, efficient style of leadership. We need to understand that the old ways of looking at our cities just won’t do. That means promoting cities as the backbone of regional growth by not only solving the problems in our cities, but seizing the opportunities in our growing suburbs, exurbs, and metropolitan areas. No one knows this better than the outstanding public servant I am announcing today as our next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development — Shaun Donovan…

A year ago the New York Observer interviewed Mr. Donovan:

Location: Why is affordable housing so important to New York’s economy?

Mr. Donovan: One of the central goals of the economic development agenda for the city under the Bloomberg administration has been to diversify the economy. If you look at New York’s economy, tourism has been a key sector, and the mayor has focused a lot on the service-related businesses, construction, a whole range of areas where there’s been real strong growth in the economy.

Fundamentally, we must make sure we can continue to attract the low- and moderate-paid workers who fuel those economies.

So this is a fundamental competitive issue for the city as well as being a social justice issue. If the city can’t continue to attract and house—and it’s really been people from all over the world—it’s a real risk to our economy overall.


In general, is the Bloomberg administration supportive of greater controls, extending rent regulation in other ways, or keeping rent increases low?

What I would say is, it’s not enough. It has not been the major focus of our efforts. One of the reasons is, recognize that rent stabilization doesn’t target units to particular income groups. Rent stabilization only controls the rents; it does not require certain income levels to live in those units.

So we think it’s more efficient and effective in terms of creating new units to target those units to low- and moderate-income people. We need to go beyond what rent stabilization does, which is just keep rents lower, but not make sure people who really need the housing the most end up living in those units.

I am excited PEBO is putting resources where they need to be in foreclosure mitigation, and I am nervous about how he plans to resdesign the cities. I agree we need urban life and an end to blight without gentrification, but forced ‘implanting’ of families is a horrific thought to me, I grew up in Queens where immigrants congregate to areas to be around each other, Little Italy, Chinatown..  I also don’t want to reinvent the wheel or lose my way of life as they ‘reimagine’ cities…

Main St, U.S.A. Disneyland

Main St, U.S.A. Disneyland

Ideally, if we are ‘reimagining’ I would like the Disney Imagineers to handle it, they have a proven track record of success..I would really like us to redo them all like Main St USA in Disneyland, how about we go with that? and a tram and monorail coast to coast for transportation-it is doable now after all (you laugh but we are building a monorail in AZ), but ya know the recession and what not, but there ARE many empty housing units, can we redo a GI Bill and give our troops these houses?, okay just stream of consciousness now, back to the topic..

housinginyourhandsGiven the current housing crisis and the expected move by Congressional Democrats to implement foreclosure mitigation and mortgage modification via the Tarp Part Deux, this is a KEY appointment. It is interesting he did it without a presser or the opportunity for anyone to ask questions about his plans for housing, one presumes that is because those housing plans are not yet finalized (I sure hope it isn’t because it is going to be unpopular).

AP covered the ‘surprise’ factors in this appointment:

…Donovan’s appointment was something of a surprise. Most speculation has centered around Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin or Bronx borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr.

HUD often has been led by someone who is a minority; Donovan is white. Latino groups were pushing heavily for Diaz, following in the footsteps of Clinton appointee Henry Cisneros of San Antonio, Texas. Bush picked Mel Martinez of Florida, a Hispanic, and Alphonso Jackson of Texas, an African American.

Even the rollout of the selection — announced at 6 a.m. Saturday via e-mail and later in Obama’s Saturday radio address — broke with how Obama has announced previous Cabinet positions. For his other appointees, Obama invited reporters to a news conference, along with the nominee, and took questions….

PEBO has appointed a ‘Hahhvad (architecture) white boy’ to handle the ‘integration’ of housing and a new look at urban living. Interesting and some people will be unhappy about it no doubt. Certainly Donovan has the experience and education angle covered and he seems to be on the same page as PEBO. ( I know what it’s like to be backing the experience candidate-HA!) Donovan is another Clinton Administration official, he worked for HUD under Big Dawg as deputy assistant secretary for multi-family housing, he also worked for Prudential Mortgage Capital where he managed FHA products.

Included in the coverage of this announcement in Reuters is an interesting tidbit from a report released this week on US Housing that may give us insight into how Donovan and PEBO plan to ‘change the way we look at city living’:

….This week the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a report saying that U.S. housing is still racially segregated 40 years after civil rights laws were approved to end unfair practices.

The report said the segregation also contributed to the subprime mortgage crisis…..

Donovan comes to us via PEBO’s campaign, before that via Mayor Bloomberg of NYC.  Bloomberg appointed Donovan as the Commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.  As a native ‘New Yawker’ living elsewhere I will leave it to others to be the judge of this statement via AP:

…Obama praised Donovan’s record in New York, where he managed a $7.5 billion plan with a goal of putting a half-million New Yorkers in affordable housing. The Harvard-educated architect also kept foreclosures to a minimum in the city’s low- and moderate-income home ownership plan, with just five out of 17,000 participating homes….

Here is the part that sounds promising for Hillary’s HOLC, (and makes me hope Donovan will work with Sheila Bair to get the FDIC plan implemented right away) via the Miami Herald:

…(Donovan) he oversees a $7.5 billion program to provide affordable housing to 500,000 people.

While there, he’s overseen efforts to handle the problems caused by the mortgage crisis, most notably the rise in foreclosures on people who fell behind on their mortgages.

The department, for example, helped create a center offering counseling, education and legal services to help owners or renters facing evictions stemming from foreclosure to stay in their homes. In 2005, it started offering education, credit and legal assistance to those most at risk of predatory lending….

Well NYT reports that my old Senator Chuck Schumer is pleased:

“Shaun Donovan has been one of the most effective housing commissioners in New York City’s history,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who had championed Mr. Donovan. “At this time, with the housing crisis raging, he is exactly the kind of person we need as HUD secretary.”

And so is the NYTimes which notes he ‘even worked as an architect in…Italy!”

Cause you know, working in Teh Europe is the best thing in ANY public servant for America in NY Times land…I hope and pray Mr Donovan has the chops to take on this Hydra-headed housing monster before it swallows our economy whole.

Hydra by Santiago Iborra

Hydra by Santiago Iborra

December 13, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Cabinet, Economy, FDIC, Finance, Foreclosures, Hillary Clinton, Housing, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, TARP, Wall St. 2 comments.

Saturday Morning Cartoons 1969/70: Groovy Goolies & SSP Racers….

Time to pull up your cereal bowl and blanket..

Sabrina and the Groovy Goolies came on in 1970 and ran for four years, splitting into two shows..


December 13, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Entertainment, Popular Culture, Saturday Morning Cartoons. Comments off.

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