Monthly Archives: December 2019

The “Fa La La La La” on Christmas Songs

The holiday season is in full swing here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey! Our storage rental customers are busy buying packing and shipping supplies, and retrieving the gifts they stowed away in their storage units.

Like many retail locations at this time of year, our storage rental office is filled with holiday songs wafting through the air. Hearing non-stop Christmas music on the radio made me wonder, where did these songs come from, who wrote them, and how long have they been around?

Here are a few fun facts about some of our holiday favorites… 

While we associate “Jingle Bells” with Christmas, the song was originally written to celebrate Thanksgiving.

The first Christmas song to mention Santa Claus was Benjamin Hanby’s “Up On The Housetop.” Written in 1864, Hanby was inspired by Clement Moore’s 1823 poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas.” (The night before Christmas)

Thurl Ravenscroft, the singer responsible for classic song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, also voiced Tony the Tiger, the mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes.

“White Christmas” was written by Jewish songwriter Irving Berlin.

Irving Berlin hated Elvis Presley’s version of “White Christmas” so much that he tried to prevent radio stations from playing Presley’s cover.

The American military played “White Christmas” over Armed Forces Radio as a covert signal instructing soldiers in Vietnam to evacuate Saigon.

Bing Crosby’s version of “White Christmas” is the highest-selling single of all time.

In 1906, a violin solo of “O Holy Night” was the second piece of music to be broadcast on radio.

“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Joy to the World” are two of the oldest English language Christmas hymns, originating in the 1700s.

 “Let It Snow” is considered a Christmas song despite the fact that it never once mentions the holiday and was written by Jewish songwriters Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn.

 “Jingle Bells” was the first song performed in space.

Songwriter Gloria Shayne Baker wrote “Do You Hear What I Hear?” as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Jay Livingston and Ray Evans’ holiday classic “Silver Bells” was originally titled “Tinkle Bells.” They changed it when Livingston’s wife explained that “tinkle” was often a synonym for urination.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created by Robert L. May, a staff copywriter for the Montgomery Ward department store as part of a series of holiday-themed coloring books sold by the retail giant.

“We Wish You A Merry Christmas” is one of the oldest secular Christmas songs, originating in 16th century England.

Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song” (more commonly known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) was written during a summer heatwave in 1944.

Darlene Love sang her holiday hit “Christmas Baby Please Come Home” on David Letterman’s late-night show every year for 28 years.

Singer Brenda Lee recorded the original version of “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” when she was only 13 years old.

These are just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of holiday tunes that we hear each and every year. It would be impossible to chronicle each and every one here, but I will give you a clue as to my favorite – it involves barking dogs. Merry Christmas everyone!

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Remembering Pearl Harbor

December is here at The Storage Inn of Egg Harbor Township New Jersey – The Thanksgiving leftovers are gone, and the kids are now waiting for Santa!

The holidays are a busy time at our self storage facility. Storage customers shuttle in and out from their storage units, retrieving holiday decorations, and hiding gifts for the big day.

One of our wonderful customers, Jodi, stopped in today. Jody is stationed at our local Air Force Base, and reminded me that there is one other very important date that tends to get lost in the shuffle between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A Day which will live in Infamy.

The front page of the Los Angeles Times, 8 December 1941, announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the previous day.

The attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii stunned everyone in the United States. War was declared on Japan the very next day, leading to America entering World War II.

Here are a few things you might not know about the attack that both started and in a certain sense ended a war.

Prepping for Battle

Planning for the attack began in early 1941. The Japanese adapted equipment and gathered intelligence. The plan was approved on November 5, 1941.

The goal of the attack was to demoralize America so that they would give in to Japanese interests. Unfortunately, they vastly underestimated America’s ability to recover and mobilize for war.

Weekend Warriors

The attack on Pearl Harbor was on a Sunday. The Japanese specifically chose to attack on a Sunday because they thought the Americans would be more relaxed and less vigilant on a weekend.

When the attack began, most of the U.S. servicemen were still in their pajamas or eating breakfast.

Hiding in Plain Sight

The Japanese attack force, consisting of six aircraft carriers, stationed itself 230 miles north of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The attack lasted 110 minutes from 7:55 a.m until 9:45 a.m.

Waves of Destruction

The Japanese aircraft attacked in two waves, launching approximately 45 minutes apart. 353 planes were launched by the Japanese. Only 29 were destroyed.

U.S. servicemen identified the planes as Japanese because of the “meatballs,” which is what they called the large, red circle (Rising Sun) on the side of Japanese aircraft.

Lightning Strikes

Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida called out “Tora! Tora! Tora!” an abbreviation of “totsugeki raigeki” (突 撃雷撃) which means “lightning attack”, signifying to the Japanese Navy that they had successfully caught the Americans by surprise.

Poor Planning

The primary intended target of the attack were the United States aircraft carriers, which fortunately were not stationed at the base.

While the Japanese attacked the ships at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base and the airplanes at Hickam field, they left the repair facilities, submarine base, and fuel oil storage areas unharmed.

There had been a planned third strike to return and destroy those facilities. However, a third strike would have required a night landing, which was deemed too risky. Yamamoto later regretted not ordering the third strike.

Bombs and Battleships

All eight battleships that were at Pearl Harbor were sunk or damaged during the attack. Amazingly, all but the Arizona and the Oklahoma were able to return to active duty. That’s what they get for not destroying the repair facilities.

After it was torpedoed, the Oklahoma turned upside down. The Arizona exploded after a bomb breached its forward magazine (i.e. the ammunition room), resulting in the deaths of 1,100 U.S servicemen who were on board, accounting for nearly half of all American fatalities.

Run For It !

During the attack, the Nevada left its berth and attempted to make it to the harbor entrance, but came under such heavy fire that it ended up beaching itself to avoid blocking the way out.

Mini Subs

As additional support for their airplanes, the Japanese also sent five mini subs to help target the battleships.

The Americans destroyed four of them and captured the fifth. Because of a broken compass, they ended up hitting a reef three times and had to abandon ship after it ran aground.

The Price of Miscalculation

The attack was unexpected, as many military experts believed that the Japanese would first target U.S. bases in the Philippines and had drastically underestimated the Japanese Navy, thinking they could not mount more than one naval operation at a time.

Infamous Date

In the wake of the attack, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his famous speech to Congress describing the events as the “date that will live in infamy.” The speech originally read, “a day that will live on in world history.” Roosevelt changed it at the last minute to “infamy”.

Won the Battle – Lost the War

Japanese Admiral Hara Tadaichi summed up the operation by saying, “We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and thereby lost the war.” As a direct consequence of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs, ending the war in 1945.

Failed Delivery

Admiral Yamamoto allegedly wanted the attack to occur a half hour after a formal declaration of war, but the 5,000 word notification delivered to the Japanese Embassy in Washington took so long to process, that the Japanese ambassador failed to deliver it in time.

Because there was no official warning or declaration of war, the attack on Pearl Harbor was later deemed to be a war crime by an international military tribunal.

A Moment of Reflection on December 7th

The attack on Pearl Harbor shook the world, so on December 7th, take a momentary time out from your holiday festivities to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.