Sunday morning music

I’m not feeling terribly musical this morning.  It’s been a long week, filled with bad news about the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.  We’ll muddle through it, and come out the other side, but it’s going to leave long-lasting disruption and changes in its wake. I’ll let Harve Presnell sum it up with his famous song from the musical movie “Paint Your Wagon“, long a favorite of mine.  (A quick note:  if the embedded video below won’t play, it’s because of the slowed-down streaming speeds implemented by many service providers, to allow for more home-based Internet traffic during the coronavirus quarantine.  You

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Heh

Once again, Stephan Pastis nails it.  (Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the “Pearls Before Swine” Web site.) I don’t know about tow trucks for happiness, but I reckon there are dump trucks for its opposite . . . Peter

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Shangani Patrol – the movie

Last Saturday I put up a snippet from Frederick Russell Burnham‘s book, “Scouting on Two Continents“. The excerpt concerned the famous Shangani Patrol, that was wiped out in a legendary “last stand” fight against the Matabele tribe in 1893.  In colonial Rhodesia the incident was regarded in the same light as the last stand at the Alamo in Texas, or that of the three hundred Spartans at Thermopylae. In 1970 a feature film was made on location about the incident, called simply “Shangani Patrol“.  I remember it as being a bit too unquestioningly patriotic for my taste (given that at the time, white

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Sunday morning music

This video clip (or, rather, a link to it) was sent in by one of my readers, who wishes to remain anonymous – presumably for fear of the composer’s revenge!  It’s the legendary Spike Jones and his orchestra, playing what’s described as a “Tchaikovsky medley”.  I bet the even more legendary Russian never even dreamed that his music would be subjected to torture re-interpretation like this! Oh, well . . . There are many Spike Jones videos on YouTube, where his musical and comic genius shines through.  Great fun, if you’re in the mood for some really light (and light-hearted) music.  Here, for example, is a not-quite-performance of the Poet and

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Saturday Snippet: Cossack patriotic overkill

In 1835, Nikolai Gogol published his famous work Taras Bulba. It’s an over-the-top patriotic panegyric to the Cossack people and culture of the time, wildly exaggerated, but very popular ever since.  Wikipedia says of it: The main character is based on several historical personalities, and other characters are not as exaggerated or grotesque as was common in Gogol’s later fiction. The story can be understood in the context of the Romantic nationalism movement in literature, which developed around a historical ethnic culture which meets the Romantic ideal. Initially published in 1835 as part of a collection of stories, it was much more abridged and evinced some

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Sunday morning music

A few weeks ago, friend, fellow author and fellow blogger Cedar Sanderson sent me a link to the video clip below.  It features the guqin, an ancient Chinese zither-like instrument that defies precise comparison with Western instruments.  It’s a lovely piece. Wikipedia describes the guqin as follows: The guqin is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family. It has been played since ancient times, and has traditionally been favoured by scholars and literati as an instrument of great subtlety and refinement, as highlighted by the quote “a gentleman does not part with his qin or se without good reason,”

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Sunday morning music

A few days ago I was browsing through some blogs when I came across a piece of music at The Feral Irishman’s place.  I’d never heard it before, and never heard of the group – Airbag.  It reminded me strongly of Pink Floyd’s music, so I decided to find out more about them. The group’s Web site doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2016, but it contains this bio of the band. Airbag was formed in 2004 by five classmates from Oslo, Norway. The band recorded their first EP, Come On In, the same year, followed by Sounds That I Hear (2006)

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Saturday Snippet: a fake nun in the Army in Northern Ireland

The late Australian author Russell Braddon was one of the most extraordinary writers to emerge from World War II.  His prolific output includes “The Naked Island“, his world-famous and best-selling account of his experiences as a prisoner of war under the Japanese;  “Cheshire VC“, a study of the wartime career and post-war conversion of one of the top bomber pilots during the war (who is currently being investigated, along with his wife, for possible canonization as a saint by the Catholic Church);  “Nancy Wake: World War Two’s Most Rebellious Spy“, a true account of an extraordinary woman and her exploits with the French Resistance; 

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Sunday morning music

A few days ago I was browsing through some blogs when I came across a piece of music at The Feral Irishman’s place.  I’d never heard it before, and never heard of the group – Airbag.  It reminded me strongly of Pink Floyd’s music, so I decided to find out more about them. The group’s Web site doesn’t appear to have been updated since 2016, but it contains this bio of the band. Airbag was formed in 2004 by five classmates from Oslo, Norway. The band recorded their first EP, Come On In, the same year, followed by Sounds That I Hear (2006)

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