Sunday, December 18, 2016

Running on something, anyway.

Yesterday's little dinner party came off beautifully, despite the best efforts of the weather to sink us. Both dogs were on their absolute best behavior, including the new puppy, Nipper, who must have realized that Santa is watching and bad doggies get toothbrushes for Christmas. (Good doggies may get coal, as doggies are often fond of rocks and things that make a mess.)

It was a huge amount of work to get things ready, though, what with shoveling added to the mix, but my wife and I pulled it off. She in particular was an organization wonder. By the time I hit the sheets last night I basically fell into a coma. Even the dogs are looking pretty worn out today from all of the excitement yesterday.

All of my activity was made possible by humming of "Runnin' on Eggnog," the festive yuletide tune by Mark Steyn and Kevin Amos (performed by Steyn and Jessica Martin). The paean to the famed Christmas beverage is very catchy; the lyrics detail all the many things one needs to do in rhyming couplets (Gotta get the turkey stuffed / Gotta get my pastry puffed / etc.), and explains how eggnog gives the singers the strength to get through it all with cheer.

Steyn's best known as a political commentator, but is also one of the sharpest writers on modern music, particularly the classics of the American songbook. His song here is not going to replace "Home for the Holidays" or, sadly, "Winter Wonderland" on anyone's playlist, but as I say it is marvelously catchy. It is a list song, like Cole Porter's "You're the Top" or "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music, which are perennially popular but can be difficult to sing. There's no plea or argument that builds in a list song, no plot to follow, so it's easy to get lost, and then where are you? You find yourself singing lines out of order, busting up the couplets, and then the motivational song itself is all higgledy-piggledy. ("'Gotta get my stocking hung /  Gotta hear the church bells ring' -- What? Damn it! Start over.")

And yet it was a helpful earworm yesterday in getting things ready. As for eggnog itself, I've never been that wild on it, even on the rare occasions in my youth when I would find some made with alcohol. Some years I may buy a quart of the homogenized stuff before the season is over. Maybe it will be the afterburner I need to get through to New Year's.

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