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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

It's St. Patrick's Day, y'all! And I'm proudly wearing green:

The wearing of the green! Happy Saint Patrick's Day, y'all! #stpatricksday #wearingofthegreen #ootd #overalls #dungarees #biboveralls #vintage #dickiesworkwear #hickorystripe #overdyed #overallsarelife

Here's some music:

Friday, March 15, 2019

Bad Joke Friday (Ides of March edition)


I saw this joke on Tumblr. I can't credit it because it's got over 12,000 notes (which means that it's been passed around that many times and tracing it back to the originator is an exercise in futility). I paired the joke with the painting because, hey, neat painting.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Something for Thursday

Back at it with our Song Challenge! This time it's A Song I Like From the 1970s, which is pretty broad, innit? There are a lot of directions I can go here because that's the decade I was born, so a lot of this stuff is familiar to me on a pretty elemental level. I'll try not to go overboard, but here are several 1970s-era songs that I like a great deal, starting with one that as a kid I didn't realize that it's about...what it's about. I figured these folks were having an afternoon snack of a piece of candy or something. It wasn't until I listened to the song anew as a twenty-something (I'm very sure I didn't hear the song at all between the time I was 5 and the time I was 25) that I realized just what kind of delight these folks were discussing in terms of afternoon enjoyment.

Here's a wonderful Jim Croce song that has to probably be explained to young listeners hearing it for the first time. Operator? "You can keep the dime"? What's all that about?

Let's see...well, we have to have the Bee Gees, and this is my all-time favorite Bee Gees song.

And then there's John Denver! I think there was a time when I didn't love John Denver. I think it was however much time elapsed between my birth and the first time I heard John Denver.

Ballads about 1970s events? We've got those, too:

And I'll leave off with this bit of pep by ELO, "Mr. Blue Sky".

Pi Day!!!

(NOTE: This is a repost of last year's Pi Day post. I didn't get a chance to generate any new content--i.e., shoot a new video in which I get a pie in the face in the midst of a lesson about Pi--this year, but hey, last year's video is still pretty funny, if I do say so myself!)

It's Pi Day, everyone!

It is also Albert Einstein's birthday and, sadly, this year's edition marks the passing of Stephen Hawking, about which I'll have more to say later. But for now, let's celebrate Pi!

Calculate Pi yourself!

NASA's Pi in the Sky Challenge

A few videos:

(That one's titled "Pi Day" but the video has nothing to do with Pi so far as I can see, but it's a cool video anyway, so there it is.)

And finally:

Happy Pi Day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tone Poem Tuesday

Time for something of a musical homecoming. I'll be featuring the music of Hector Berlioz a lot over the next few months, as we've just past the 150th anniversary of his passing after a 65-year life of struggle and hardship that was too rarely punctuated by triumph. Nevertheless Berlioz produced some of the most remarkable music of the 19th century, music that took well into the 20th century to find its greatest appreciation. And that appreciation is only growing as Berlioz grows in esteem.

Here we have one of the earliest works of his to survive. Berlioz was highly self-critical and thought nothing of destroying early works if he later judged them wanting; thus we actually know little of his most youthful work. This concert overture, based on Sir Walter Scott's novel Waverley, bursts with youthful exuberance and energy, especially in the thrilling allegro section that follows the score's lyric portion. Scott wrote picturesque novels of adventure and intrigue, and Berlioz tries to capture some of that here. He's not entirely successful, and the Waverley overture has its awkward moments like many of Berlioz's works to come. But one can already hear the orchestrally-focused imagination at work, as Berlioz's was a musical mind unfettered by training on the piano. What wonders would come later, once Berlioz had discovered Shakespeare and Byron and Beethoven!

Friday, March 08, 2019

Thursday, March 07, 2019

"Execute order...."

Roger Green turns 66 today, and a very happy birthday to him! He also gathers a bit of linkage and factual stuff regarding the number 66, most famously used to identify a once-beloved portion of the United States highway system.

I, of course, am a Star Wars fan, while Roger is maybe he's not even aware of the most sinister use of sixty-six!

I hope Roger's birthday is a happier occasion than the Sith's purge of the Jedi!

Something for Thursday

Returning to the Song Challenge, it's a song from my pre-teen years! I wasn't sure how to define this--after all, a song from 1972, when I was pushing one year old, was definitely "pre-teen", strictly speaking. But I think they're referring to the "tweener" category, when you're 11 or 12. As my tweener period coincides very nicely with the arrival on the scene of MTV, here's one of the very first songs I ever encountered in "music video" form. (Although we didn't even have MTV at our house until several years later, because it took our town that long to run cable out that far on the road where we lived. For several years my sole exposure to MTV came during visits and sleepovers at a friend's house.)

Anyway, here's the sublimely goofy early 80s icon Adam Ant, with "Goody Two Shoes".

Tuesday, March 05, 2019


Most Sundays start with The Dee-oh-gee and I going on a walk in a nature-based location--usually one of the local state or county parks. Unfortunately we haven't been able to do as much of that of late because this winter's climate has been unconducive to such adventures. But this past Sunday we made our way at last to Knox Farm State Park, where we walked amongst the trees once more. Even though the trees are still asleep, they make the best companions, don't they?

Snowy tree #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking #trees

Sniffing #Cane #dogsofinstagram #greyhound #greyhoundsofinstagram #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter

Attentive hound is attentive #Cane #dogsofinstagram #greyhound #greyhoundsofinstagram #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

Looking down the lane #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

The Dee-oh-gee was quite cheerful this morning #Cane #dogsofinstagram #greyhound #greyhoundsofinstagram #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

The Dumas Bridge! Haven't been there in a while. Good to see an old friend! #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

The Dumas Bridge from the other side. I hope we all have a quiet spot someplace that reminds us of a favorite book! #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

The Widow's Finger #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

From a low spot on the trail you can see all the way back to the farm. It's been a rough winter for getting out in the natural world. I can't believe how much I missed it! #ahhh #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking

Happy to be back in nature! #forestselfie #gpoy #overalls #dungarees #biboveralls #keyoveralls #overallsarelife

Adventurers! #Cane #dogsofinstagram #greyhound #greyhoundsofinstagram #KnoxFarm #eastaurora #wny #winter #snow #nature #hiking #overalls #dungarees #biboveralls #keyoveralls #overallsarelife

Tone Poem Tuesday

An old favorite returns. This work is the kind of thing I return to when I need the world to slow down, when I need to recall that there is room in this world we've built for quiet moments and serene thoughts.

Here is Ralph Vaughan Williams's The Lark Ascending. Vaughan Williams called the work a "romance", and that fits. What always captivates me about this piece is the way it doesn't so much begin as arise. A sequence of soft chords sounds in the orchestra before the solo violin begins to emerge with a series of figures that seem almost to flutter. The Lark Ascending is a meditative song that returns the world to a better speed.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Something for Thursday

I was all set to move along in the ongoing Song Challenge, but events in the musical world today compel me to push A Song from my Preteen Years to next week.

Andre Previn has died at age 89.

Previn was one of the great musicians of the latter half of the 20th century, accomplished as a conductor and as a pianist and in both classical and in jazz. He did important film work (he conducts the musical arrangements in My Fair Lady, a film of which I'll have much more to say in a forthcoming essay), and he did a lot of important work in the concert hall and on recording. Previn is partly responsible for the re-emergence of the complete score of Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2, a work which prior to Previn's adopting it in the early 1970s was almost always performed with extensive cuts. (Why, I have never been able to figure out. A complete performance of the work runs no longer than the Berlioz Fantastique or the Mahler 1st or the Beethoven 3rd.) Previn's 1973 recording of that symphony (with the London SO) is the one I heard first, and though Vladimir Ashkenazy's Concertgebouw recording has since overtaken Previn's as my favorite, I almost certainly would not have heard Ashkenazy if not for Previn's wonderful recording.

That's not my selection here, though. Here I'll go with a selection from one of the finest recordings I've ever heard in any genre. This is Previn playing the piano and conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in George Gershwin's Concerto in F. There is so much vitality to this performance, so much verve and excitement, ripe with the energy of pre-WWII American urban society.

Bravo, Maestro Previn! You'll not be forgotten soon, if ever.