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PAGE 10 POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 16, 2016 ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso Christmas Past Yes, I remember my child- hood Christmases. They were very simple, really. The magic was in the moments: the lights on the tree, the Christmas play at St. Mark's, and the thought that, just maybe, Santa Claus was really watching me. Christmas was a big deal at St. Mark's Parish school. My first school play was for Christmas of 1988. I can hardly remember the thing now. All I know is it involved Santa's flight on Christmas Eve and half the Kindergarten class was dressed as toy dolls and the other half as teddy bears. The following year, our Christmas play was more religious and involved the journey of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. Over the years, I've grown very fond of our artificial tree(s}. They are a solid, one-time in- vestment and save as much in time. Still, I think no child should go without experiencing the thrill of going to a pine tree lot at least once. I never picked out the tree, I didn't really care. It was the scent of pines that swept me away. Taking the tree home and setting it up was a family af- fair, one that I still remember vividly. My mother has kept many of the ornaments we first put up when I was a baby, and now I realize why I loved open- ing the box of ornaments. The smell of pine became absorbed into the decorations over the years and they would awaken my subconscious recognition of the time of year. A whole night was usually devoted to putting up the tree and I couldn't have been happier. To me, it was as if our entire apartment was be- ing transformed into a magical place. And perhaps, indeed, it was. Downtown Boston has always lit up well for Christmas and I think I saw the Enchanted Vil- lage once in its original home, Jordan Marsh. But visiting it in Jordan's Furniture, its new location, has become a new an- nual tradition. My parents loved taking me to the tree-lighting at Copley Square. As do most things when you are a small child, the size of the thing blew me away and I loved running circles around its perimeter, simply as a tribute to its towering shadow. The holiday TV schedule is also memorable. The Disney Channel often ran Mickey's Christmas Carol as well as a classic holiday special fea- turing clips from movies and holiday-themed shorts. What I really loved, however, were the Rankin-Bass specials like Frosty and Santa Claus is Com- ing to Town. Christmas Eve was always the more exciting of the two nights. My extended family would come over for a night of dinner, games, and other fun activities. One area in my life in which I have been extremely fortunate is to have had a close family. A good family is not just a gift, it's the foundation to who you are and, in many ways, who you will become. Christmas Eve was always a reminder of that, ever since I was a child. At midnight, we would exchange gifts, but to me the most wonderful gift was the lifetime of memories we built. What are traditions, after all, if not different ways to cel- ebrate what matters most in life? Your family, your friends, laughter, and unity. Christmas has changed a lot over three decades, but not where it really matters. My family's size and shape has changed. Some have left us while others have joined, but the spirit of Christmas stays the same and so it will for future generations. For Christmas is not about where you are or what you do, but who you share it with and the relationships we celebrate. News Briefs (Continued from Page I) his wife and another allegedly However, a jury ended hope-our politicians, and community by his maid? Why would lesslydeadlockedandthejudgeactivists all seem to presume Trump pick this guy as his declared a mistrial. Many are guilt before any real evidence replacement? angry that the cop seemed to get is presented. Too often things Another Cop Trial Ends off, but the reality is that police aren't always as they appear with Not Guilty Verdict officers are held to a different to be. If the prosecution comes Lately, we have all been standard than civilians are. A up with more credible facts, watching as juries have decided guilty verdict must be based it can re-try him, but we can't against finding police officers on what a reasonable policedo political prosecutions. It involved in shooting deaths officer would do in the same doesn't help anyone but those guilty as charged. The latest situation. I wasn't surprised whose minds are already made is a white South Carolina cop by this latest verdict as, just as up. on trial for the shooting death in many previous trials, juries End Quote of an unarmed black motorist, must decide the case on the"You punch me, I punch back. The North Charleston, S.S. po- facts and not on the speculation I do not believe it is good for lice department fired the officer of the general public who don't one's self-respect to be a punch- and then he was charged with have access to all the facts in ing bag." murder, the case. Too often the media, -- Ed Koch The DVD of Boston's North End: An Italian American Storij makes a great stocking stuffer. The North End Historical Society, founded in 2009, has produced the first feature-length, high-definition film to chronicle the vibrant Italian American community that has called the North End of Boston home for well over 100 years. Boston's North End is based on historical records and interviews with Italian American North Enders and their descendants. It also features original music written especially for the film, home videos, former World Welterweight Boxing Champion Tony DeMarco, and Stephen Puleo, author of The Boston Italians, and Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919. ON SALE FOR $20 (Add $5 for shipping and handling per DVD) Mail check payable to NEHS, and mail to P.O. Box 130152, Boston, MA 02113. Or order yom:s online at www.northendboston.org by bob morello reviewing the , the rest THE BLACK-EYED PEAS - THE COMPLETE VINYL COLLF-~-~ION - [/Me Just when you thought you'd run out of holiday gift ideas, along comes UMe with an offer you can't refuse. A limited edition six-double-LP vinyl box set: The Black-Eyed Peas: The Complete Vinyl Collection. Originally formed in Los Angeles in the late '80s by rap part- ners wiU.i.am and apl.de.ap, The Black Eyed Peas were signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, and then joined Interscope in 1998 for their critically acclaimed major label debut album Behind the Front. Since then, The Black Eyed Peas have sold more than 35 million albums world-wide, emerging from the West Coast rap underground to become Grammy-winning, multi-platinum superstars who have stormed the pop charts after adding pop diva Fergie to their ranks. Their 2003 break- through album, Elephunk, produced their first hit singles: "Where is the Love," "Shut Up," "Hey Mama," and "Let's Get it Started." Monkey Business (2005) produced the hit singles "Don't Phunk with My Heart," "My Humps," and "Pump It," and went triple-platinum in the U.S. and worldwide, estab- lishing the band as global pop icons. The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies}, (2009), was nominated for six Grammy Awards, winning Best Pop Vocal Album, and spawned the hit singles "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling." UMe brings all six Interscope studio albums together for the first time in this limited edition vinyl box set that includes double-LPs of each, a total of 12-discs in a black rigid lift top box. The band's 1998 Interscope bow, Behind the Front, includes "Joints & Jam," "Be Free," "Karma," and "Love Won't Wait" featuring Macy Gray. Bridging The Gap, (2000), is the last album recorded as "Black Eyed Peas" before the band added "The" to their name. There were three singles released: "BEP Empire/Get Original," "Weekends," and "Request + Line," the last once again featuring Gray. Other cameos on the album included Esthero ('Weekends'), Chali2na ("Get Original'), Kim Hill ("Hot'), De La Soul ('Cali to New YorlC), Les Nubians and Mos Def ('On My Own') and Wyclef Jean ('Rap Song'). Fergie joined The Black-Eyed Peas for their 2003 break- through, Elephunk, on will.i.am Music Group/A&M Records, which scored the band's first crossover hit single "Where is the Love?" and "Let's Get it Started," earning double-platinum. "Monkey Business," (2005), also on will.i.am Music Group/ A&M, continued the group's momentum, earning four Grammy nominations and an award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "Don't Punk with My Heart," which became the group's first Top 5 single, followed by "Don't Lie." "My Humps," came out as the album's third single. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland guested on "My Style," while Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Cee Lo Green and John Legend contributed to "Like That." The Black Eyed Peas' fifth studio album, The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies), (2009), spawned three promotional singles, "Imma Be," "Alive," and "Meet Me Halfway," released through the iTunes store. The album completed the transition from hip-hop to pop and gave the group its first three chart-topping singles in "Boom Boom Pow," "I Gotta Feeling" and "Imma Be." The Beginning (November 2010), is The Black Eyed Peas' sixth and most recent studio album. The singles included "The Time (Dirty Bit)," "Just Can't Get Enough," and "Don't Stop the Party." JIMMY BUFFET: SONGS YOU KNOW BY HEART + AIA/12" - Vinyl Geffen-UMe Jimmy Buffett's classic albums -- Songs You Know By Heart and AIA, have been released in their original format, appear- ing on vinyl for the first time in decades. Buffett's greatest hits album, Songs You Know By Heart, has remained a favorite since its release in 1985 and contains his trademark single "Margari- taviUe." The album collects some of the songwriter's best-known songs, including "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "A Pirate Looks At Forty," "Come Monday," and "Son of a Son of a Sailor." Jimmy's fifth album, AIA, named for the beach access road that runs on and off U.S. i in Florida, was released in 1974. The album is filled with the breezy, laid-back melodies and songs of surf, sun and good times that Jimmy has become known around the world for. It includes the carefree, autobiographi- cal romp of "Life is Just a Tire Swing" to the tongue-in-cheek "Door Number Three," to the topical shuffle of "Migration." A CAPITOL CHRISTMAS/12" Vinyl Capitol-UMe In honor of Capitol Records' 754 anniversary, A Capitol Christ- mas presents some of the most cherished holiday classics from Capitol's vast catalog and legendary artists. Available as a CD, and also in a vinyl double LP housed in a gatefold package, the 24-track album brings together beloved Christmas songs from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Mar- .fin, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby, and many more. Liner notes by compilation producer Jay Landers tell the story of each song in beautiful detail. A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS, VOL. I/12" Vinyl A&M-UMe The album that started an international movement is now available back on vinyl. Released 29 years ago in 1987, A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1, brought together some of the biggest musicians of all time for a holiday album to support the Special Olympics and their mission. Founded by David Geffen, the first in the AVSC series featured a who's who of artists, including Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Whitney Houston, Madonna, John Cougar Mellencamp, Alison Moyet, Stevie Nicks, The Pointer Sisters, The Pretenders, Run - D.M.C., Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, U2, and The Eurythmics, contributing a variety of seasonal staples along with original songs.