I’m a mixed Jew who’s lived in the American Midwest for his entire life. I think these songs, more than anything else I’ve ever written, are honest about that experience.
(Incidentally, given that this year is one of the few when Xmas and Xanukah overlap, all of these songs are especially appropriate.)
Another Dark Xmastime (FUN FACT: I wrote this during my first year as a fundamentally unemployable stay-at-home dad; my children believe it is an accepted part of the general Xmas Music Canon.)
Dreidel Bells (FUN FACT: The beat here is an original GameBoy running an early German Nanoloop cartridge. Both voices are obviously me, but the filters for the robot voice badly overburdened my old iBook, causing significant lag–which is why Mr. Roboto struggles so badly to hit his marks.)
DreidelDreidelDreidel (FUN FACT: The beat here is a vintage analog Boss DR-55 once owned by POE, crammed through a heavy-metal distortion stompbox.)
Although lines of ad copy such as “Get Big Dick and be envied by every boy in town,” “Become a member of the ‘Big Dick Brigade,’” and “How to get BIG DICK free” might seem like obvious double entendres to modern audiences, they were not read as such by customers of the time.
Loretta Lynn, a singer and songwriter whose rise from dire poverty in Kentucky coal country to the pinnacle of country music was chronicled in the best-selling memoir and movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” and whose candid songs gave voice to the daily struggles of working-class women, died Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. She was 90.…
[Lynn] was a teenage bride and mother, a country star and a grandmother by her early 30s.
All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth …, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
Yes, “the leading cause of death among children is a firearm” is an extremely upsetting sentence—and also, a sadly accurate one (given that you define children as “humans between the ages of 1 and 19”; infants in their first year die from lots of stuff that doesn’t kill you after your first year; if you include them in this number, then it skews toward premature birth, birth defects, and SIDS).
Population wide, gun deaths are usually ~66% suicide and ~33% homicide. Among children, that’s now basically flipped.
In other words, in America today most gun deaths are suicide, and most adults will die of something else (probably disease). But for kids in America, the leading cause of death is guns, and most of those gun deaths are murders.
This is how the AIs get us: they set us up on serial petty theft charges, ruin our credit records with fines and court fees and legal bills, then get us disenfranchised as parole-violating felons. Pretty soon, the only jobs we can get are dusting off their motherboards for minimum wage or working the spice mines of Chiron Beta Prime. 🤖🇺🇸🔥
Six years later, I still love this sketch. I think what most resonates for me (as a “half-a-Jew”) is that it highlights both ends of that experience of being “mixed”, how in the space of five minutes you can whipsaw from feeling like a Jew-weirdo-outcast to feeling not-Jew-enough. In a single convo you can go from feeling feel the cut of someone else’s bigotry to finding yourself voicing and breathing fresh life into that very same bigotry. #America!
(Yeah, I repost this every year, because I love this gag, and because watching this on TV—and rehashing it with my mom and sisters each year—is one of my fondest holiday memories. But it is, in my humble, a damn-near perfect gag. That’s saying something, because I find single-camera laugh-track situation comedies almost entirely unbearable to watch. If you wanna read more of my thoughts on this specific gag and what it can teach writers, you can do so here.)
2. “…your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs; we will sell our bracelets by the road sides…”
3. ♬♫♪ “Caught his eye on turkey day / As we both ate Pumpkin Pie … ” ♬♫♪