Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Music. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice!





























At 11:24 CST,  our planet arrived at that point in its elliptical journey around the sun when our north pole is tilted as closely as it ever tilts - about 23.5 degrees - toward our life-sustaining star.  It is officially summertime!

The northern solstice (or June solstice) occurs on either the 20, 21 or 22 of June. It marks the peak of the lengthening hours of daylight that began with the March equinox. On this date, northerners will experience the greatest number of hours and minutes of daylight in all of 2017. For those in the southern hemisphere, the opposite is true - their day will be the shortest of the year. 

I was going to post a poem about midsummer night full of fairies and magic, or about flowers and breezes and the smell of freshly mowed grass. But this poem pushed its way to the front of the line: I think in its own way, this poem communicates a warmer, more human affirmation of life than more conventional metaphors of growing things and magic.

Summer Solstice, New York City
by Sharon Olds

By the end of the longest day of the year he could not stand it,
he went up the iron stairs through the roof of the building
and over the soft, tarry surface
to the edge, put one leg over the complex green tin cornice
and said if they came a step closer that was it.
Then the huge machinery of the earth began to work for his life,
the cops came in their suits blue-grey as the sky on a cloudy evening,
and one put on a bullet-proof vest, a
black shell around his own life,
life of his children's father, in case
the man was armed, and one, slung with a
rope like the sign of his bounden duty,
came up out of a hole in the top of the neighboring building
like the gold hole they say is in the top of the head,
and began to lurk toward the man who wanted to die.
The tallest cop approached him directly,
softly, slowly, talking to him, talking, talking,
while the man's leg hung over the lip of the next world
and the crowd gathered in the street, silent, and the
hairy net with its implacable grid was
unfolded near the curb and spread out and
stretched as the sheet is prepared to receive a birth.
Then they all came a little closer
where he squatted next to his death, his shirt
glowing its milky glow like something
growing in a dish at night in the dark in a lab and then
everything stopped
as his body jerked and he
stepped down from the parapet and went toward them
and they closed on him, I thought they were going to
beat him up, as a mother whose child has been
lost will scream at the child when its found, they
took him by the arms and held him up and
leaned him against the wall of the chimney and the
tall cop lit a cigarette
in his own mouth, and gave it to him, and
then they all lit cigarettes, and the
red, glowing ends burned like the
tiny campfires we lit at night
back at the beginning of the world.


For your musical inspiration on the brightest day of the year, here is Julia Fischer accompanied by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields playing Vivaldi's Summer from his violin concerto The Four Seasons. The performance was recorded at the National Botanical Garden in Wales.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Jason Flees The House




























Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has a reputation on Capital Hill for being an incredibly ambitious man. In a 2015 article enumerating instances where he climbed over his former mentors in his ruthless pursuit of greater power, Huffington Post reported that Cheffetz's ambition is so notorious, his name has become "a verb" in political circles. Every move he makes - every career decision - appears to have been meticulously planned, even if that doesn't appear to be the case at first glance.

All things to everyone...
Like a chameleon, Chaffetz has changed his colors - switching positions and allegiances - to match the political environment at any given time and make the most of every opportunity for career advancement. Knowing this fact about Jason Chaffetz, many of his colleagues, rivals and critics were initially puzzled by the sequence of events that unfolded over the last week.

Run... Last Wednesday (April 19), Chaffetz announced that he will not be seeking re-election  in 2018. Not for his own seat in the House of Representatives, and not for Orrin Hatch's seat in the U.S. Senate. Interestingly, he was pretty specific about not running in 2018, thereby leaving the door open for a run for another office; perhaps Governor of Utah in 2020 or... some other office in 2028.

Sounds like Jason's striking a
bipartisan note to play out on...
Run... The very next day, Thursday April 20, Chaffetz astonished people anew by saying that he might not even finish his current term. Rumors flew that he might resign the very next day - or at least soon. He didn't. Instead, on Monday April 24, he stood with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and made patriotic noises about wanting answers from Michael Flynn about his dealings with Russia.

Away... Then, just as everyone was adjusting their sets and preparing for a new Chaffetz, reinvigorated House Oversight Committee Chairman, he announced that contrary to his statements last week ("I am healthy"; "I still have a job to do and I have no plans to take my foot off the gas."), he in fact is not healthy, needs foot surgery and oops! looks like he will have to take that foot off the gas after all. Let's just pause for a moment here to take in the sheer oddness of these contradictory statements within the span of 7 days. It seemed kind of weird last week when he threw in "I am healthy" into his announcement, but now it just seems bizarre, especially with the choice of metaphor he used to describe his continued commitment to his job!

Speaks for itself, doesn't it?
So, speculation has been spreading like wildfire. The timing of these rapid-fire announcements seems to suggest a connection to the Trump/Russia scandal. Could it be, some people wonder, that Jason Chaffetz is embroiled in the scandal too and is running back to Utah to escape consequences?  As seductive as that line of thinking is, it doesn't really make sense to think that running off to Utah is going to protect him from prosecution if he is guilty of any crimes and there is evidence to prove it.  The idea that Chaffetz can avoid legal trouble and everyone, including the FBI and the Justice Department, will forget about him if he simply leaves the spotlight just doesn't make sense, although it is also true that not a lot about his abrupt actions and pronouncements over the past week make sense, either.

The more likely explanation is, as several articles have pointed out, simple ambition. Chaffetz has already registered the domain name JasonChaffetz2028.com for instance, and he is nothing if not a forward planner. The current mess in Washington DC, and the potential for even worse scandal involving treason, is a stink he does not want clinging to him, even 11 years from now.

My own view is that it is possible for the truth to be both ambition and collusion, although it is looking more like simple ambition. Chaffetz's coldly insensitive remarks about Healthcare last month were apparently heard in Utah and blew up campaign contributions to his Democratic opponent, Kathryn Allen. That unexpected news, combined with the unexpectedly bad reception he received during the spring recess, very likely changed the calculus. Chaffetz made an abrupt change of course at least once before in his career, and for much the same reason - evidence that his success was far from assured persuaded him to drop his plans of running.

Ouch! Feels like Jason's not going
to be hitting the gas for awhile...
Something about the sudden foot surgery explanation doesn't ring true, either. It's a little better than the sudden need to 'spend more time with family', but not much. After all, if  83 year old Dianne Feinstein can slip away for two days to have a pacemaker installed (that's heart surgery) and return immediately to continue important Congressional work, then surely the much-younger Chaffetz could grab a set of crutches if absolutely necessary, and get back to work?

Maybe Jason decided that with RepublicanCare looming on the horizon, which aims to remove protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, he had better schedule that elective surgery to remove the screws from his 12 year old injury sooner rather than later.

Whatever the case may be, Jason is no longer in the house - he has fled to Utah. We certainly live in interesting times.

For your Friday Feature, for no particular reason, I give you "Run Runaway" (Great Big Sea) :


Run Runaway

I like black and white
dream in black in white
you like black and white
run runaway

Chorus:
Looks like Jason's got it sussed...
See chameleon lying there in the sun
all things to everyone
run runaway

If you're in the swing
money ain't everything
if you're in the swing
run runaway

If you got it sussed*
don't beat around the bush
if you got it sussed
run runaway

oh now can't she wait?
no no come on and wait
oh now can't she wait?
run runaway

I like black and white
dream in black in white
you like black and white
run runaway

- Jim Lea, Noddy Holder

* "If you got it 'sussed'" = If you've got something figured out

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tax Day Marches - We Can Be Heroes




























April 15 is tax day. Where are Trump's tax returns? Today there will be marches all over the country by concerned citizens who are demanding that President Trump release his tax returns.  Everyone hates filing tax returns and paying taxes and few of us have much interest in the tax returns of other people. The president's are a big deal, though. The tax returns will point to the true sources of Trump's "wealth" and financing. They can answer many questions about his connections and associations and to whom he owes money. Trump has broken his promise to release them for a reason. He is hiding something.

Stand up. Speak out. Resist.  We can do something. Resistance works.

For a little inspiration to help keep up the fight, here is David Bowie singing We can be heroes.


Heroes

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing, will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day

And you, you can be mean
And I, I'll drink all the time
Cause we're lovers, and that is a fact
Yes we're lovers, and that is that

Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, forever and ever
What d'you say?

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, forever and ever
Oh we can be heroes, just for one day

And the shame - it fell on the other side...

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing, will drive them away
We can be heroes, just for one day
We can be us, just for one day

I, I can remember (I remember)
Standing, by the wall (by the wall)
And the guns, shot above our heads (over our heads)
And we kissed, as though nothing could fall (nothing could fall)
And the shame, was on the other side
Oh we can beat them, forever and ever
Then we could be heroes, just for one day

We can be heroes
We can be heroes
We can be heroes
Just for one day
We can be heroes

We're nothing, and nothing will help us
Maybe we're lying, then you better not stay
But we could be safer, just for one day
Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh, just for one day

- David Bowie


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Starfish Are A Beautiful Thing


























While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what you are doing?”

The boy paused, looked up, and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the boy replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “Do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile. It can't possibly make a difference!”

The boy listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean and said, “It made a difference for that one.”


I'm not sure what this post is about, really.  The post-holiday, pre-inauguration gloom is setting in and it seems like a good time for a little more beauty in the world.

Making a difference one starfish at a time is a beautiful thing.  We can do this, America.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Secret Of Life - Perspective


























As we inch our way into 2017,  a year that many fear may be even more challenging than the annus horribilis we just booted out the back door, it might help to entertain some fresh perspective.

Sure, the 2016 election and all the ugly, brutal months that preceded it, may have been the beginning of the end of the United States as we knew it, but from a universal perspective 2016 was an infinitesimal blip within the infinite expanse of existence. The universe, the earth and even these divided States we still hope to call America will survive Trump. They will even survive the band of sycophants and opportunists known as the Republican congress.

Life will go on and in a hundred years - still an infinitesimal blip of "time" - things may very well be better for this horror show. People may have learned from this catastrophic mistake and the study of civics and history may even be valued again. Who knows? Maybe the principles that our liberal and enlightened founders hoped to enshrine in the founding documents of these United States will at last be restored as our guides.

That's the hopeful idea I leave with you tonight - and for your Tuesday Tonic,  here is James Taylor crooning his thoughts on the secret of life.



Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Giuseppe Verdi!






















For your Monday Music: a feast for the senses!

Today is the 203rd anniversary of the birth of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. Most people know that Verdi was one of the greatest opera composers of all time, but even if Verdi's name doesn't ring a bell (or clang any anvils even), there are numerous hummable Verdi tunes that many people actually do know. They just don't realize that they have been humming Verdi until they hear the tunes performed (in a flash mob, for instance)!

Giuseppe Verdi had a long and eventful life. An agnostic atheist, Verdi managed to escape a lifetime of composing and performing sacred music for the church - the fate of most composers throughout history - and succeeded in earning a comfortable living. He was interested in the complex challenges of the human condition and one of the reasons for his outstanding success was that he broke new ground by exploring deeper ethical and emotional themes. Such work requires a depth of artistic honesty which would have been impossible in a religious context. As his first wife, Margherita, wrote:

“Never, absolutely never, would he [Verdi] settle in Busetto. Having dedicated himself to theatre music, he would succeed in that and not in music for the church.”. 

As if that wasn't all cool enough, Verdi was also a man who knew his way around the kitchen! He enjoyed cooking and dining with friends and family and he created many of his own unique recipes.  Here is one that I invite you to try to celebrate the great composer's birthday:


Risotto Giuseppe Verdi's Style
Ingredients
¾ lb. Carnaroli rice
2 oz. butter
3 oz. mushrooms
3 oz. asparagus tips
3 oz. Prosciutto di Parma
3 oz. canned tomatoes
3 ½ tablespoons light cream
4 cups meat broth
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
½ onion, thinly sliced


Preparation:

(25 minutes preparation + 16 minutes cooking)

Clean and finely mince the onion. Clean and thinly slice the mushrooms. Clean and blanch the asparagus in salted water: cool them in water and ice. Mince the prosciutto finely. Blanch the tomatoes, peel, seed and cut them into cubes.

In a pot melt ¼ of the butter, add the onion and slowly cook it until soft and golden. Add the rice and toast it for about 1 minute.
Add the broth, 1 ladle at the time, waiting until it has been absorbed before adding the next one.

After 8-10 minutes, add mushrooms, prosciutto, asparagus and tomatoes.

Stir well, cook for another 2 minutes and add the cream.
When the rice is “al dente” (about 18 minutes), add butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, then stir well and cover with a lid. Let it rest for 2 minutes and serve. Serves 4.

(This recipe was created by the French chef Henri-Paul Pellapratt (1869-1952), the "father of modern French cooking", who dedicated it to maestro Verdi. via NPR)

Last and best of all - for your listening pleasure, here is a terrific video taken from the Metropolitan Opera HD series featuring the company singing "Va Pensiero" (also known as the "Hebrew Slaves Chorus"). It is hard to believe that this stirring piece - one of Verdi's most well-known and beloved - comes from one of the composer's earliest works. It is from Nabucco, Verdi's first successful opera which catapulted him to the 19th century equivalent of stardom at the age of 34.

Va Pensiero (English lyrics)

"Fly, thought, on wings of gold,
go settle upon the slopes and the hills
where the sweet airs of our
native soil smell soft and mild!
Greet the banks of the river Jordan
and Zion's tumbled towers.
Oh, my country, so lovely and lost!
Oh remembrance so dear yet unhappy! ..."




"You may have the entire universe, if I may have Italy." 
 -Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813 - 1901)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Snow!


"Hurry Home", pastel painting, Karen Margulis
































As I left town in the wee hours this morning for a brief trip, a quick-moving weather system blanketed Chicago in gorgeous cottony whiteness. Let's celebrate with a beautiful poem AND a video from Nifty's catalogue of favorite old movie songs!

London Snow

When men were all asleep the snow came flying, 
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.
All night it fell, and when full inches seven
It lay in the depth of its uncompacted lightness,
The clouds blew off from a high and frosty heaven;
And all woke earlier for the unaccustomed brightness
Of the winter dawning, the strange unheavenly glare:
The eye marvelled-marvelled at the dazzling whiteness;
The ear hearkened to the stillness of the solemn air;
No sound of wheel rumbling nor of foot falling,       
And the busy morning cries came thin and spare.
Then boys I heard, as they went to school, calling,
They gathered up the crystal manna to freeze
Their tongues with tasting, their hands with snowballing;
Or rioted in a drift, plunging up to the knees;
Or peering up from under the white-mossed wonder,
'O look at the trees!' they cried, 'O look at the trees!'
With lessened load a few carts creak and blunder,
Following along the white deserted way,
A country company long dispersed asunder:
When now already the sun, in pale display
Standing by Paul's high dome, spread forth below
His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the day.
For now doors open, and war is waged with the snow;
And trains of sombre men, past tale of number,
Tread long brown paths, as toward their toil they go:
But even for them awhile no cares encumber
Their minds diverted; the daily word is unspoken,
The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber
At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken. 

--Robert Seymour Bridges



Friday, November 13, 2015

Storms Never Last
























For your Friday music fix, something a little bit different: the country crossover duet of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter (Miriam Eddy):

Storms Never Last


Storms never last do they, baby
Bad times all pass with the winds
Your hand in mine steals the thunder
You make the sun want to shine

Oh, I followed you down so many roads, baby
I picked wild flowers and sung you soft sad songs
And every road we took, God knows, our search was for the truth
And the storm brewin' now won't be the last

Storms never last do they, baby
Bad times all pass with the winds
Your hand in mine steals the thunder
You make the sun want to shine

Storms never last do they, baby
Bad times all pass with the winds
Your hand in mine steals the thunder
You make the sun want to shine

Storms never last do they, baby.

 - Miriam Eddy (Jessi Colter)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thorsday Tonic - Listen, Smith Of The Heavens!





























Hallowe'en approaches -- one of my favorite holidays and probably the most eagerly anticipated event in the year for most American and Canadian children.

I'm just getting warmed up again after a prolonged hiatus (life happens, NiftyReaders!), and what better way to do so than with an amazing piece of music based on an ancient song to a Norse god?  It's the ideal warm up for Hallowe'en, too!

Enjoy!


Lyrics:




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thorsday Tonic - Changes




A little Thorsday Tonic for you!

Changes 

Still don't know what I was waitin' for
And my time was runnin' wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse of
How the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don't want to be a richer man
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
Mmm, yeah

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
So the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Where's your shame?
You've left us up to our necks in it
Time may change me
But you can't trace time

Strange fascination, fascinatin'
Ah, changes are takin'
The pace I'm goin' through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Oh, look out you rock 'n' rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Turn and face the strange
Ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now you're gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can't trace time

- David Bowie

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thorsday Tonic - Here Comes Spring!

                                                                                                                                                     photo by another peri






























It is 16:57 GMT (12:57PM EDT), our planet has aligned with the sun just so and - in the northern hemisphere where the NiftyFamily resides - spring has officially begun!

The March Equinox occurs each year on either March 19, 20 or 21. It is the moment when the sun crosses the imaginary line we call the equator and on that day, living things on earth experience roughly even hours of daylight and darkness. Equinox comes from the latin for "equal night".

Now, we in the north can look forward to lengthening days and shorter nights until June, while our southern hemisphere neighbors will experience shortening days and longer nights. Best of all, in my garden the earth is beginning to awaken. Yes it is! Even if you have a late winter snow, the earth feels that sunlight!.

Spring has sprung!


Lines Written in Early Spring
BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:—
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?


For your musical inspiration today in the first moments of spring: a lushly beautiful rendition of Vivaldi's Spring (from the Four Seasons) performed by violinist Julia Fischer accompanied by the Academy of St Martin in the Fields at the National Botanical Gardens of Wales. Enjoy the glorious music punctuated by birdsong, presented in a gorgeous garden conservatory. This is about as good as it gets!

For your Thorsday Tonic, listen to this and give yourself a little gift for spring.





Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Tonic - The Rabbit of Seville


























For your Tuesday Tonic, a rare treat!  NiftyReaders may have noticed that I am an opera fan. Well, today you learn the secret behind my enduring affection for that musical genre: Bugs Bunny!

Yes, back in the olden days when Nifty was a sprog, the best show on television was the Bugs Bunny Roadrunner Hour on Saturday evenings right around suppertime. Dad would hold off flipping the hamburgers until the last notes of "This is it...!" had faded away to give me and my siblings a chance to watch it every week (no DVRs in those bad old days!)

Bugs was not just a clever bunny, he was cultured! We had no idea what a rich education we were soaking up while we laughed at his antics, but today I recognize the literary and musical references that were woven into nearly every cartoon.

Today's tonic, in honor of my dear brother-in-law who - to my everlasting admiration and delight - can sing the entire thing from memory: Bugs Bunny, The Rabbit of Seville

(inspired by Rossini's The Barber of Seville)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thorsday Tonic - Fantastic Fantasia!


Today is the birthday of someone very special - and in honor of this special day, I have a special treat for your Thorsday Tonic.

From the classic Disney movie "Fantasia", 1940 edition. Beethoven's "Pastorale" ( 6th Symphony), performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of conductor Leopold Stokowski.

Happy Birthday, Dearest!

And Happy Boxing Day to All!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Music - White Christmas



via bitybooo

For your Monday Music - a clever remix of Michael Bublé with Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas".

Quote for the win:

"I promised my mom that I would be singing with you and...I have the technology!"

Classic!





Saturday, December 21, 2013

The December Solstice



























At 6:11 GMT (11:11 am CST) the north pole reached it's furthest tilt away from the sun, and the planet has achieved it's southern solstice. In the northern hemisphere, we experience the shortest period of daylight of the year, while the southern hemisphere receives its longest day. This is the time of the midnight sun for the south polar region.

As in June, the exact date and time of the December solstice varies from year to year, but it is always on December 20, 21, 22 or 23. Interestingly, because the earth's orbit around the sun is an elliptical pattern, the seasons are not exactly uniform in length. Northerners who love the warmer months will be delighted to learn that spring and summer are slightly longer seasons than winter and fall!


The Shortest Day
by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!


For your Saturday Inspiration, here is the final violin concerto in Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Winter.
Performed by violinist Julia Fischer accompanied by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields at the National Botanical Gardens in Wales.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday Music - Count Your Blessings



Here is your Monday Music: the classic duet performed by Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney in my favorite holiday film, "White Christmas".

Thanksgiving is just behind us and a New Year approaches. The season of light is also here!

Enjoy the holidays and don't forget to count your blessings!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Per La Mia Bambina


























Something special for your Wednesday Wonder. Enjoy!!

Kathleen Battle, who hails from Ohio, (UC conservatory alumnus) - sings O mio babbino caro (O my beloved father) from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi.

Happy Birthday, mia bambina!

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's Cloud Illusions All The Time





























Both Sides Now

Rows and flows of angel hair
and ice cream castles in the air
and feather canyons everywhere,
I've looked at cloud that way
but now they only block the sun,
they rain and snow on everyone
so many things I would have done
but clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
from up and down, and still somehow
it's cloud illusions I recall,
I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
the dizzy dancing way you feel
as every fairy tale comes real
I've looked at love that way
but now it's just another show,
you leave 'em laughing when you go
and if you care, don't let them know,
don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it's love's illusions I recall,
I really don't know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
to say "I love you" right out loud,
dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I've looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange,
they shake their heads, they say I've changed
well, something's lost but something's gained
in living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now,
from win and lose, and still somehow
it's life's illusions I recall,
I really don't know life at all.

- Joni Mitchell

(In loving memory: MTG October 16, 1933 - June 6, 2009)


Friday, October 11, 2013

Welcome, Little One!




























Today is the two week birthday of a very precious baby. In honor of the new arrival, I'd like to share the song linked below. Tim Baker's incomparable lyrics capture the feelings that so many of us "elders" experience as we welcome a new generation into this beautiful, exhilarating, terrifying, wonderful world that we all share.

From everyone in the NiftyUniverse:

Welcome to the world, little one!


Welcome   -lyrics, Tim Baker

You'll be a bright light coming out of the dark
All the doctors blinking hard
You'll be lightning coming out of the storm
Like a message, like a miracle

You will do all right
You've got your mother's eyes
You've got your daddy's head
Everything you need

For this hard ride
They'll be strapping you on
All the ups and downs and you can't get off
Yes, trouble we're handing off
And you've got to do better than us

It'll be all right
You've got lots of time
You've got your daddy's love
Everything you want

I can feel you and what you're gonna be
You'll be stronger, you'll be smarter than me
Oh baby, I'll say it again
You're the most incredible thing

I'm sorry, this is it
It's cold and hard and badly lit
And there's no backing out of it
So forget where you've been
It'll never be that good again
And we must only look ahead
Soon you're 33
And everything you tried to be
Is pulled apart by fear and greed

So do I welcome you to it?
Sing let the goddamn games begin
'Cause the god that gives deliverance
Has this thing for disappearing, kid

When they're fighting on the beaches' heads
The five am to Winnipeg
The nights of fights and poison pits
The needle edge of old regret
But the wind will always shift again
And the breath beneath your epaulettes
Is strength enough to carry this.

Let young hands build you up
Carve your face in honest rock
With sunlight on your noble jaw
May young hands build you up
I'm happy that you've come along
I'm happy that you've come, I'm happy that you've come

Oh baby, I'll say it again
I'll say it again, I'll say it
You're the most incredible thing
             ----------------

There is a rough live version of the song performed by its creators, Hey Rosetta! here. It has an honesty and humanity - literally a circle of friends sharing the welcome - that I really wanted to express in my personal welcome to our sweet new baby.

The live version below is sublime (you will want it for your Ipod, I swear). Turn up the volume, take it to full screen and enjoy.

via Hey Rosetta!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Tonic - Bandages


























I've posted this song before. It's a great song, and now here it is again with a wonderful and very original video.

I had to ask myself - should this be a Monday Music or a Tuesday Tonic?  It is both music and a tonic, but since the song has already been featured on Monday Music, here it is today as your Tuesday Tonic.

Give yourself a gift - take 6 minutes out of your day, click on the video and watch it full screen with the sound turned right up. It is visual and auditory food for the spirit. It starts out pensive but finishes with an exuberantly life-affirming party!


Bandages

It will come around
but everything is now
I know everything is right now

And the loneliness is a lot
the nothing weighs a ton
I mean the nothing weighs a fucking ton

That half of the bed
empty like a page
all the cursive claims you've yet to make

All the promising lines
bending like her spine
oh the whiteness that your pen could write

If you get these bandages off
you can stand, you can walk
leave these towels and gauze
you'll get up, you'll get out
into the sun

That's where we belong
we've been abed too long
all our weaknesses are growing strong

But the winter always ends
with water on your lips
the april rain comes swinging in

Get these bandages off
let me stand, let me walk
leave these towels and gauze
let me up, let me out
into the sun

Cause come she will
Oh come she will

She comes oh
she comes son
she comes...

- Tim Baker