K. D. Lang, Jingle Bell Rock, and local anti-war Christmas caroling opportunities!


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This, from Pee Wee’s 1988 Christmas special, is
The Best. Performance of Jingle Bell Rock. EVER.

The only way this could be better is if K. D. used the lyrics that I wrote for the tune, back in 2007:

The Exit-Plan Rock
(tune of Jingle-Bell Rock, Nelson 2007)

Bring ‘em back bring ‘em back bring ‘em back home,
Pack ‘em in trucks and shlepp ‘em in jeeps,
Squeeze ‘em in humvees, a dozen to one,
Now your Exit Plan has begun!
Bring ‘em back bring ‘em back bring ‘em back home,
Here a battalion, there a platoon,
Fly home that jet plane as full as you dare,
thru the frosty air!

It’s the right time, yes it’s high time,
to end this dumbass war!
Turn our Bradleys into ploughshares:
We ain’t gonna study war no more!
Bring ‘em back bring ‘em back bring ‘em back home,
Ship ‘em home ‘round the clock;
With all dispatch snatch ’em out of Iraq,
That’s your Exit Plan, that’s our Exit Plan,
that’s the Exit Plan Rock!

OC Congressmen Miller, Campbell, Royce and Rohrabacher in their Chickenhawk mode.

Yeah … that was one of the songs we sang at various malls, and also Ed Royce’s office I believe, that December of 2007.  I like to think the song helped convince candidate Obama that getting out of Iraq should be a big part of his campaign, which he has pretty much followed through on to a large degree.  (To be fair, Barack was right on Iraq from the beginning, if you remember his 2002 speech as an Illinois state senator.)

Too bad he feels he has to compensate by doubling down on the pointless, endless war in Afghanistan.

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In December 2008, after he was elected, I penned this cautiously hopeful ditty:

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Obama We’re Hopeful
(Nelson 2008, tune of “O Come All Ye Faithful”)

Obama we’re hopeful, cautiously believing
you meant when you told us that you’d end this war,
Sooner than later, let’s get our troops back state-side!
OBAMA WE’LL BE WATCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE MARCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE HOLDING YOUR FEET TO THE FIRE!

Ensconced in the White House, trying to get your bearings,
Oil men and gen’rals whisp’ring in those big ears,
Filling your head with doubts and grim scenarios,
OBAMA WE’LL BE WATCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE MARCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE HOLDING YOUR FEET TO THE FIRE!

Barack, you were right on this war from the beginning;
You beat the Republican and Democra–t hawks.
Now you’re elected to end this occupa-tion!
OBAMA WE’LL BE WATCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE MARCHING,
OBAMA WE’LL BE HOLDING YOUR FEET TO THE FIRE!

Betsy Martin, Thu-Trang Tran, outside Chez Dana; pic Reg.

Yeah… that was the year – Dec. 2008 – that we sang outside of Dana Rohrabacher’s house – that got us a nice story in the Register, “War protesters sing carols to Rep. Rohrabacher,” which I just noticed Gabriel linked to, before I knew him!

It didn’t seem appropriate to sing a song addressed to our new Democratic president outside of Crazy Taliban Dana’s house though;  fortunately we already had a stockpile from previous years.  I’m sure we must have done “Why the Hell Are We Here?” – the version of “Do You Hear What I Hear” I wrote with Pat Alviso of Military Families Speak Out, back in 2006.  (And THAT was the year a couple dozen of us strolled through South Coast Plaza with guitars;  a couple of us refused to leave when security asked them to, and got locked up downstairs in a little cell they’ve got – that’s the first time any of us knew about the South Coast Plaza Gulag!)

Why the Hell Are We Here?
(tune of Do You Hear What I Hear, Nelson-Alviso 2006)

Said the grunt to his sergeant in Iraq:
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
Tryin’ to not get shot in the back,
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
A wife and child wait for me back home,
spending Christmas-time all alone,
spending Christmas-time all alone.

Said the sarge to the Captain in command:
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
Ev’ry week it seems I lose a man.
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
A roadside bomb planted in the night
filling ev’ry moment with fright;
There’s no way to win such a fight.

Said the Captain to the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
In this civil war in Iraq?
Why the hell are we here? (Why the hell are we here?)
Each bomb we drop only makes things worse;
and our choosing sides is perverse
in this Sunni/Shia universe.

Said the troops to the Congressman back home
Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)
Congressman all comfy back home,
Time to bring us back now! (Time to bring us back now!)
This war, this war, has gone on far too long,
Can you hear the words of our song—
Getting out will make us— more strong!!!

Pat Alviso and the author on guitar, 2008...

That was a good one, but somewhat dated by now.  This weekend I”m quickly trying to finish up a new one – a version of Greensleeves (“What Child is This?”) that critiques our endless war in Afghanistan.  That’ll be more timely, and I’ll put it up here when it’s done.

By now, you’re no doubt wondering how you can join the Anti-War Christmas Carolers this year.  Well, our Long Beach appearance tonight was canceled due to rain, but these are still coming up:

  • This Sunday at 11, at the regular service of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim,  511 South Harbor Blvd. Anaheim.  Vern will be leading the singing which includes the above songs as well as traditional carols and Hannukah tunes!  You may even meet Duane Roberts there, that’s his turf.
  • Sunday evening in Long Beach, at the corner of 2nd and Nieto. (Belmont Shores)
  • Tuesday evening in downtown Huntington Beach.  E-mail for details of both of these:  mfso-oc@earthlink.net!

And of course we ALWAYS do this one:


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.