I Guess I Know What Ukraine is Getting for Xrismanukamas!🎄🎅🏿🕎

“This rugged, sustainable platform will operate in permissive environments and austere conditions around the world to safeguard our Special Operations Forces on the ground,” USSOCOM Commander Gen. Richard Clarke said in an emailed statement.

Not for nothing, but “permissive environments” sure as heck sounds like Ukraine.

Just for context, I’m a lifelong Michigander (incidentally descended from Jews who fled Ukraine back in the 1920s). Cropdusters are still fairly common here in Michigan (and the terrain, I’m told, is quite Ukraine-ish).

My wife grew up in blueberry country, and there are still plenty of fields around her folks’ place, and folks spray them from cropdusters.  It is absurd and terrifying how nimble these planes are. Average Joe flyers regularly bring them in below the tree line to dust a field, and then pop back out to dive into the adjacent field. In other words, they can come in over the horizon too low to detect–likely too low to see–and be on top of you before you can bring a turret around.

Given the performance we saw of Russian tanks early in the war in Ukraine, planes like these would fucking mow them down like a goddamned scythe.

A Holiday Tip for Gentile Schoolteachers🎅🏿🕎

Last year, during the pandemic, I eavesdropped the most brilliant piece of classroom third-rail navigation I’ve ever seen in my life.

This was in my then-third grader’s Zoom music class (we’ll leave for another day any discussion of the crime against humanity that is “grade-school Zoom music class”).

This is always a fraught time of year for grade-school music teachers: They wanna sing Xmas songs, most of the kids wanna sing Xmas songs, but the constant Othering definitely grinds away at the Jewish kids (esp. when they try and “include” you be singing the “Dreidel Song”; that song is crap, and we know it. The Xmas songs are way better).

So in my daughter’s class, the teacher shows this slide: it’s an unremarkable middle-aged White dude, “Mitchell Parish.”  Who the heck is Mitchell Parish? Well, he was born in Lithuania, and brought here by his parents, who were Jews (my daughter immediately perks up; Jews! Like us!) and he was a popular songwriter in New York in the ‘20s, ‘30s, and ‘40s—and he wrote the lyrics to “Sleigh Ride”!  

*advance to next slide* 

*kids sing “Sleigh Ride”* 

*EVERYONE IS A WINNER!*

My daughter felt seen, gentiles got their Christmas carol, and no one had to sing the goddamned “Dreidel Song.” 

So there’s the trick to getting to sing Christmas carols in public school: 

Start out with a brief bio of the Jews who wrote your Xmas song

(all your favorite Xmas songs were written by Jews; you’re welcome).

Heck, you can do a whole Winter Concert—featuring “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” and “Run, Run Rudolph”—on just a single bio slide: All four of those classics were written by the same Jew (the inimitable Johnny Marks, whose Jewish brother-in-law was the guy who created Rudolph to begin with).

Beats per Week 10: Merry Xanukristallmas!

I’ve been woefully lax on the beats this month. All apologies; my event schedule, plus holiday prep and holidays, has had me running like the proverbial chicken.  To make it up, I’m posting three deep-cuts today, all from back when I used to record annual Xmanukah Songs and had not yet developed crippling shame at my core musical incompetencies.  Enjoy!