New Year’s Day was the end of it all, I suppose, and you’re supposed to be relieved when it ends to be shot of the whole event. The fortnight of celebrations, the weeks that preceded the revelry, the build-up to Christmas and the inevitable deflation, the pleasure in the old songs quickly replaced with near-horror upon hearing anything Christmasy the day after, let alone the week after: done and gone and that's fine. When you’re a kid the idea of the 12 Days is intriguing and hopeful, as if it’s possible to extend it all for two weeks, but there are a number of stories and old radio plays about the inadvisability of having more than one Christmas. It sours. It pales. New Year’s Eve is the tonic, the chaser, the end of the old masquerading as the birth of the new. An event where there’s no possible let-down the next day, and pain is even built in to the popular lore. New Year’s Day is the holiday no one celebrates. Scrooge was never known for keeping New Year’s Day in his heart.

We want to get back to work. Back to normal. Back to our own ways of shaping the days without the holly and the bows and the pressure. (Note: Never felt the pressure.) So New Year’s Day is spent supine, without thought of tradition or familial duty or special foods or anything else - it’s just a time to stretch out, exhausted, and look forward to the return of everything from which we were delivered by the holidays.

Thus do we keep ourselves sane.

I had a fine NYE; indeed, a great one. Didn’t leave the house. Mother-in-law was over for a while, then she left, and I stayed up talking with my wife until 2:30, laughing and recapping and catching up. I spent the next day on endless granular finishing-up projects, took a great stonking nap, and finished laying out all the updates on the site fro 2014 while listening to hours and hours of Bob and Ray. At the end of the night I cleaned out the Christmas music from the iTunes, but kept a few wintry chestnuts: let me tell you, friends, “In the Bleak Midwinter” is a tune that provides solace in the months to come. Because:

She’s optimistic. It’s been negative-temps for days; minus 8, minus 11. Now comes the godless expanse, and it takes a stern soul not to falter. There is nothing left; the holidays are over. The tree must come down; the little Dickensian village on the marble slab over the radiator in the dining room must be unplugged, the tiny figures inside consigned to darkness. But there are still a few hours left, and before I go to bed I will shake the snow globes and admire the tree and recall the gratitude and satisfaction I felt this year. I know when I bring the tree down from its storage shelf it will feel as though I just shoved it up there; when we trim the tree it will seem as a year had fled in the wink of an eye, but right now it seems as if a year has passed since we made the house ready for Christmas, and it was a hale and merry year like few before.

The end of New Year’s Day. It doesn’t seem odd to have a Santa figure sitting on the sofa. It wouldn’t even seem odd to watch a holiday movie tonight.


That was yesterday; now it’s all ashes. The tree in the corner is a stranger. But I gave everything one last look after I shut it off for good, and felt such great deep satisfaction I wondered how quickly it would be sundered by the workaday grind of pitiless January.

Didn’t happen. Part of it is due to Daughter, who’s home, and that’s merry. Ascribe some of it to the rising temps: it was Minus Zero today, according to the thermometer. An interesting concept. Part of it comes from the accomplishment of tweaking the 2014 site to perfection; this weekend I test every link - all bazilliony million of them - and then it’s all yours to explore.

Part of it comes from listening to Bob & Ray for hours on end while I work. Here’s something that tells you everything wrong about commercial radio:

They continued on the air for over four decades on the NBC, CBS, and Mutual networks, and on New York City stations WINS, WOR, and WHN. From 1973 to 1976 they were the afternoon drive hosts on WOR, doing a four-hour show. In their last incarnation, they were heard on National Public Radio, ending in 1987.

If radio was run by sane men, the entry would look like this:

They were on the air for over four decades on NBC.

The fact that these guys - the absolute pinnacle of the medium - bounced around from station to station or network to network is proof that the men who sat in the big chair upstairs were, by and large, fools. I mean, I don’t care if you’re switching formats from all-day news-sports-weather-talk to caterwauling swamp evangelists, YOU DON’T GET RID OF BOB AND RAY.

There may be some Diner homages this year, since I can actually do a few of the voices: Dean Archer Armstead (not difficult; you just have lay your tongue as fat as possible) and the Good Cap’n from one of the most brilliant bits they ever conceived: the Webley Webster Players would recreate a scene from a book, and it was always A) nothing that had to do with the book, and B) a scene in which a cliched old sea captain beats his first mate for saying things he regards as an affront to his command. If nothing else it’s dead-air mastery at its finest: beat, beat, beat, beat, growl: whyyy you (sound effect of the first mate being struck) I'd provide an example, but their work is so poorly organized it's almost impossible to find the proper clip.

So, today? Cold and fine. Wrote. Published. Cooked. Did a radio interview while - and this probably wasn’t apparent to the national audience - going outside to pick up Jasper, who slipped on the ice while peeing. Earned my keep on the right side of the dirt. Or the deep hard snow.


The Society for Commercial Archeology's newsletter arrived today, and I went to the back to see which signs had been saved, and which were lost. Yes, it's an exciting life! Oh but it gets better - I google the names of the places to see if I can find the signs on Google Street View! Only after I've made sure I have oxygen and smelling salts available. This was removed, probably because it doesn't look modern enough.

View Larger Map

You may have to click on it, if the picture's blurry. Note the zombie on the lower right side.

Next up: I forgot to copy the town, and have only the screen grab, and the newsletter is at the office, but otherwise I have all the information you need to enjoy . . .

I love the octagon clock, which doesn't work any more. I say that based not on the absence of hands, but on the fact that the sign has been removed.

Same goes for this one - this is another Google Grab, but what isn't these days. Behold, Hilltop Steak.

That's just magnificent. And finally, the busted-down charm of the ol' Goal Post BBQ.

See the lines and wires hanging from the sign? Well:

Closed. But this site? Open for business like you wouldn't believe come Monday. See you then!








blog comments powered by Disqus