Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Holiday

Announcing the Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!

Christmahanukwanzaakah ConcertNOW ON December 21st, 2013.

There will be no sponsors. There will be no causes.

There will be no mentions of number of Twitter followers or academic degrees.

There will just be singing.

And the celebration of this 21st Century village, this online world, where diverse individuals from around the globe have access to one another almost 24/7, and where friendships have no barriers.

It is time for the announcement of the Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, all new, all exciting for 2013!

The online concert this year will take place on December 17, 2013, one month from today, right here on this blog.

It is time to hear YOU PERFORM!   YOU are the CONCERT.

Sign up in the comments today.

Concert FAQ:

1.  Create an audio file or a video file of you performing a holiday song.  If you need technical help, ask me.

2.  You must be performing in the audio or video.   Don’t cheat and have your cute kids doing all the work.

3.  You can sing, play an instrument, recite poetry, dance the Nutcracker, or create music on your iPhone.

4.  Once completed, you have the choice of posting it on your blog or YouTube and sending me the link, or emailing me the complete multimedia file.   Try to get me everything by Sunday, December 15, 2013, two days before the concert!  That gives you plenty of time to be creative.

5.  If you don’t want to sing a song, send me a holiday photo for concert decoration.  It could be of your tree, menorah, or plain ol’ winter solstice if you are a heathen.

6.  The comment section is the sign-up sheet.    By signing up, we can see who is performing what, so we can avoid having ten versions of “Frosty the Snowman.”

7.  Most importantly — don’t be intimidated if you can’t sing.    We like to laugh at you.

8.  Here are the past blockbuster concerts —

2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012

Join us in the longest-running holiday concert online — The Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, now in it’s eighth season!

Good luck!   You have a month.

Paris Journal – Day One

arche

A week before we flew into Paris, Danielle, the owner of the two-bedroom apartment in the Marais district that we were renting for ten days, called my mother in New York. It was six o’clock in the morning. Apparently, Danielle was confused about the international time zones.

“What did she say?” I later asked my mother.

“She said she was going to pick us up at the airport.”

“Wow, that’s nice of her. This trip is looking great!”

We arrived at Charles De Gaulle Airport at noon on Saturday — me, my mother, and my mother’s friend, Laura, a kind-looking woman in her seventies.

As we passed through security, I searched for Danielle in the crowd, hoping she would be one of those greeters holding up a sign with my name on it, like you see done in movies. She was not there.

She was not in the baggage area, either.

I headed for the exit, pausing at the sliding door, realizing that my next step would be my first ever step on French soil, a spot in which Napoleon himself might have stood if he ever took a discount flight into town.

I entered France.   Danielle was not waiting, and my first whiff of Parisian fragrance was of a taxi blowing fumes into my face.

I called Danielle on the phone and she answered, speaking in a thick French accent.

“Bonjour! Bonjour, Neil!”

“We are here. Will we see you soon?”

“Absolutely. I’m only two minutes away.”

My mother, Laura, and I found a bench near the information booth inside and waited for twenty minutes.  Nothing.

“Call her again,” pushed my mother.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “This is how the French are. They take things slow. They like to eat and drink and enjoy life. Two minutes to a Parisian is like twenty minutes to us.”

I was winging it.  I felt that it was necessary because one look at Laura’s face and I could see that she was questioning my decision to rent an apartment.  Of the three of us, she was the one who most preferred staying at a traditional hotel.

“Trust me,” I told her two weeks earlier when I booked the rental. “You and my mother have played it too safe over the last few years with all those by-the-book tour groups and cruises.  Now is the time for adventure.”

“Hmm,” she said, not convinced.  Laura also wanted to go to England instead of France. At least there, they speak English.

“Call her again,” said my mother,  wondering about Danielle whereabouts.   My mother was now getting anxious because she saw the discomfort in Laura.   I was now getting anxious because I saw the worry in my mother.  You can take three neurotic New Yorkers out of New York, but….

I took out my iPhone and called Danielle for a second time.

“Bonjour, Neil!” she said.

“Uh, Bonjour, Danielle. Are you on your way yet?”

“Oh, don’t worry. I just live two minutes away. Call me when you are here.”

“We ARE here.”

“Where?”

“At the airport.”

“Oh, so just call me from the airport when you reach the apartment. I only live two minutes away from the apartment. I’ll give you the keys when you arrive.”

“So, you’re NOT picking us up at the airport?”

“No, no, no. Just take a cab! It shouldn’t be more than seventy Euros!”

“Uh, ok,” I said.

As we taxi-ed into central Paris, my mother insisted that Danielle told her, during the phone call a week ago, that she would meet us at the airport.

“Are you sure she didn’t say that she would meet us at the apartment, and NOT the airport?” I asked.   “It seemed too good to be true.”

“Maybe you are right,” said my mother.   ” But it was six o’clock in the morning when she called so I was sleepy.  And also, she had a strong accent that was hard to understand.”

“If we went to England,  we would have no problem with the language,” said Laura.

Well, actually she never said that.  But I KNOW she was thinking it.

We had arrived in Paris.

The 2009 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

Welcome to the Fourth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!

Happy Holidays. May the power of music bring joy and healing, especially to those who need it.

Let’s hope that 2010 brings us all health, happiness, and the ability to write better than average blog posts.


Little Drummer Boy, sung by Danny from Jew Eat Yet (with family, including Charlie!)

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Joy to The World played by Angela from Fluid Pudding

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The Twelve Days of Christmas? sung? by Jenny from The Bloggess
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Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas” sung by Amy of The Bitchin’ Wives Club

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Winter Wonderland sung by Yvonne from Joy Unexpected (in Christmas sweater!)

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Light Up The World by Mark from Psychotoddler with The Moshe Skier Band (available at iTunes and Amazon)

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Twas the Night Before Christmas (New Jersey style, a bit NSFW) recited by Ellie from Buggin World

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The Whoo Song sung by Loralee from Loralee’s Looneytunes and Carolers

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Grandmother Got Run Over By a Reindeer sung by Tanis from The Redneck Mommy

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You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
sung by Michael from Badass Dad Blog

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The Christmas List presented by Kate from Sweet l Salty and her sons.

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Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off sung by Miss Sizzle of Sizzle Says and Neil of Citizen of the Month

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Deck the Halls sung by Alejna from Collecting Tokens

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His Eye is On The Sparrow sung by Jenny from MommyMae

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Le Miracle de Saint Nicolas (in French) sung by Otir from Un Jour a La Fois

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Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer sung by Nancy from Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas and her daughter

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Silent Night played by Not Fainthearted from This Journey

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Good King Wenceslas sung by Lauren from Merry Mishaps

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Winter Solstice spoken thoughts by Jen from Jen Lee

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Oh, Holy Night, sung by M from This New Place

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River sung by Rahre from Rahre

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Jingle Bells sung by Jess from Drowning in Kids and her son.

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Noel-Christmas Eve sung by Jenipurr from A Cat By Any Other Name

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Jingle Bells sung by Mamikaze and family

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Santa, I’m Your Girl sung by Marie and The Snake Charmers.

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The Man with the Bag sung by Amy from Selfish Mom

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Angels Are Smiling words, music, and sung by Fawn of Fawnahareo’s Place

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I’m Happiest at Christmas by Noel Katz and sung by A Stage Kindly

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sung by Heath of Homo sarcasmus (and friends)

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photo by Kyran from Notes to Self

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Solstice
photo by Jen from Jen Lee

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crib
photo by Bon from Crib Chronicles

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lindawoods
photo by Linda Woods from Visual Chronicle

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peace
photo by Yvonne from Joy Unexpected

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ornament
Photo by Lotus of Sarcastic Mom

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denise1
photo by Denise of Eat, Play, Love

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angella
photo by Angella from Dutch Blitz

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greeblemokey
photo by Aimee from Greeblemonkey

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huckdoll
photo by Huckdoll from Eternally Huckdoll

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jenny2
photo by Jenny from MommyMae

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maggie
photo by Maggie from Maggie Dammit

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Tara
photo by Tara from Paris Parfait

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otir
photo by Otir from Un Jour a La Fois

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vgrrrl2
photo by V-Grrrl from Compost Studios

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laura
photo by Laura from Blog Con Queso

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taraR
photo by Tara from If Mom Says OK

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denise2
photo by Denise of Eat, Play, Love

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We Wish You a Happy Holiday by ZoeyJane from Mommy is Moody and her daughter

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noteAnd a special message of hope and love to Anissa, a fellow blogger.

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The 2006 Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

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poster girl Jamelah

THE CONCERT PROGRAM

Ellen performing Jingle Bell Rock

Digital Father performing O Holy Night

Psychotoddler performing Sevivon

Becky performing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Elisabeth and Claire performing il est ne le divin enfant

Sheana and Colleen performing The Dreidel Song

Fitena performing Silent Night

Mr. Fabulous performing Blue Christmas

Villanovababy performing Santa Baby

Sophia performing Hanukkah, Oh Hannukah

Heather B performing O Come All Ye Faithful

Tiff performing The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

INTERMISSION

Nelumbo performing Up on the House Top

Non-Highlighted Heather performing Silent Night

Sophia, post-accident, performing Ocho Kandelikas in Ladino

Qatherinn performing A Christmas Song

Neil performing How to Make Latkes!

Stuntmother‘s son, Daniel performing Jingle Bells.

Danny performing Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

Caryn performing The Chipmunks Christmas Song

Paintergirl performing Rock and Roll Round the Christmas Tree

F.D. (from Therapy Doc) performing Dovid Melech (more here)

Pam performing Santa Baby

Chana‘s daughter performing Ocho Candelikas

Doris and Edda performing We Wish You a Merry Christmas

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photo by Leesa

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photo by Jenny

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photo by Chantel

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photo by Two Roads

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photo by Michelle

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photo by 3T

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photo by Pearl

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photo by Orieyenta

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photo by Nics

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photo by LeahPeah

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photo by Smitten

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photo by Pam

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photo by Sarah

claire.jpg
photo by Claire

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photo by Edgy Mama

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photo by Tamarika

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photo by Leezer

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photo by V-Grrrl

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photo by Chloe

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photo by Neil and colorized by Sarah

The Miracle of Kew Garden Hills – Chapter Two

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(from The Miracle of Kew Garden Hills, Chapter One)

“Here’s what I want, Neil.  Have you ever thought about hosting a Holiday Concert on your blog, where other bloggers spread the joy by sending in holiday music and songs they recorded themselves?”

“Host a Holiday Concert?  Me?  But I’m Jewish!”

“So am I, Neilochka…” said Nick.  “So am I…”

“Who else do you think they could get to work on Christmas Eve?” he laughed.

“And how exactly would this Blogger Holiday concert work?” I inquired.

“Ho Ho Ho.  Easy as fruitcake.  Tomorrow on your blog, you would put up a sign-up sheet.  Bloggers could volunteer to perform a holiday song for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.  They can sing or play an instrument, or both.   They could send the finished piece over the internet either in .wav or MP3 format, edited or unedited.  I’m sure you can help explain all this.  Even with all those Playstation 3s I’m hearing about, I’m not much of a techie.”

“And when would I hold this Christmahanukwanzaakah Concert?”

“December 20 sounds right.”

“And what about those bloggers who can’t sing or play an instrument?”

“You mean the talentless ones?  They could always send you a photo of their menorah or Christmas tree.  Just NO KITTENS.”

“What did you say your name was again?”

“Nick.  Although some call me Kris Kringle.  Or Santa Claus.”

“Santa Claus?!  You have to be kidding?”  I cried, my eyes rolling in disbelief.

The elevator door opened.  My mother was standing down the hall, waiting for me, much as she used to when I would come home from school.  I grabbed my suitcase and rushed towards her, trying to get as far away from this nut as possible.

“Hurry, Mom!  Let me in and then close the door behind us!”

“Hello, Neil,” my mother said in her usual cheerful, comforting voice.  “And hello, Nick.”

“Nick?!”

I twirled around like a dreidel and saw Nick following right behind me.

“My Sweet Elaine.” Nick purred, as he took my mother in his arms.  They kissed, passionately.

“MOM?!  What the…!!!”

My mother took my hand, sensing my concern.

“Neil, I was going to tell you later about Santa… uh, Nick.. but… but…”

Nick took my mother’s other hand.

“Your mother and I are friends… ” he said.

“Very good friends…” added my mother.

It suddenly became real to me.   This was Santa Claus.  And Santa Claus was a horny older guy leering at my mother’s figure!

“Mom?”  I gasped.  “Are you doing it with Santa Claus?!!”

(TO BE CONTINUED)

Easter vs. Passover 2006: The Grudge Match

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(Easter eggs vs. Passover matzoh balls)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again as Jews and Christians battle it out for Spring Holiday of the Year.

Let the Games Begin!

1)  HOLIDAY CANDY  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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Marshmellow Peeps  (-10)
Cadbury Mini Eggs  (+12)

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Fruit slices (+5)
Barton’s Kosher for Passover Chocolates  (-15)

HOLIDAY CANDY WINNER:  EASTER!

2)  HOLIDAY CAKE  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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Hot Cross Buns  (+25)
Assorted Easter Cakes  (+50)

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Streit’s Macaroons  (-150)
Passover Cakes (-100)

HOLIDAY CAKE WINNER:  EASTER!

3)  HOLIDAY MEAL  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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Glazed Ham  (-150)
Leg of Lamb  (-50)
Vegetables   (+50)

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Brisket (+150)
Matzo Kugel  (+75)
Gefilte Fish (-25)
Matzo Ball Soup (+350)

HOLIDAY MEAL WINNER: PASSOVER!

4)  HOLIDAY FUN  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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Making Easter Eggs (+30)
Rolling Easter Eggs  (+3)

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Finding the Afikomen [hidden matzo] and making money (+100)

HOLIDAY FUN WINNER: PASSOVER!

5)  HOLIDAY “SURPRISE” GUEST  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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The Easter Rabbit (+20)

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Elijah showing up to the seder to drink his “glass of wine.” (-1)

HOLIDAY “SURPRISE GUEST” WINNER: EASTER!

6)  HOLIDAY MOVIE  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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“The Passion of the Christ” — a violent and depressing movie (-25)

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“The Ten Commandments” — old-school epic with lots of action and sex. (+140)

HOLIDAY MOVIE WINNER:  PASSOVER!

7)  HOLIDAY “HOT DATE”  — EASTER VS. PASSOVER

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Bringing Heidi Klum to your Easter Dinner.   (+100)

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Bringing Barbra Streisand to you Passover Seder. (+550)

HOLIDAY “HOT DATE” WINNER: PASSOVER!

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