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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Belatedly, in honor of Saint Stephen

Stoning of St. Stephen by Paolo Uccello

...deacon of the Church and its Protomartyr.
For more information see the excellent Catholic encyclopedia article.

King Wenceslas and his loyal page.

And for a rousing rendition of the carol Good King Wenceslas--who ventured forth on the Feast of Stephen--click here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

For devotees of traditional Christmas Carols, say, from a time even before radio...

...there are few delights greater than the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols presented by the choir at King's Chapel, Cambridge. Which can be enjoyed through at least two CD issues that I know of,  and online via the King's Choir Channel on Youtube as well as BBC Radio (the 2012 Festival, that is).

In honor of Saint Nicholas...

...whose feast-day is celebrated today,  I offer a collection of articles about the Wonderworker, the Bishop of Myra.

Catholic Online (see excerpt below)
Catholic Encyclopedia
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

* * *

It is the image of St. Nicholas more often than that of any other that is found on Byzantine seals; in the later middle ages nearly four hundred churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any saint except our Lady. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron saint of several classes of people, especially, in the East, of sailors and in the West of children. The first of these patronage is probably due to the legend that during his life time, he appeared to storm tossed mariners who invoked his aid off the coast of Lycia and brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller". The legend of the "three children" gave rise to his patronage of children and various observances, ecclesiastical and secular, connected there with; such were the boy bishop and especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time. This custom in England is not a survival from Catholic times. It was popularized in America by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the popish saint into a Nordic magician (Santa Claus = Sint Klaes = Saint Nicholas) and was apparently introduced into this country by Bret Harte. It is not the only "good old English custom" which, however good, is not "old English", at any rate in its present form. The deliverance of the three imperial officers naturally caused St. Nicholas to be invoked by and on behalf of prisoners and captives, and many miracles of his intervention are recorded in the middle ages.
Curiously enough the greatest popularity of St. Nicholas is found neither in the eastern Mediterranean nor north-western Europe, great as that was, but in Russia. With St. Andred the Apostle he is patron of the nation, and the Russian Orthodox Church even observes the feast of his translation; so many Russian pilgrims came to Bari before the revolution that their government supported a church, hospital and hospice there. He is a patron saint also of Greece, Apulia, Sicily and Loraine, and of many citiesand dioceses (including Galway) and churches innumerable. At Rome the basilica of St. Nicholas in the Jail of Tully (in Carcere) was founded between the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries. He is named in the preparation of the Byzantine Mass.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tonight's Musical Toddy, from Blogger DJ is a Fabulous Cover...

of Elvis' BLUE HAWAII, performed by Willie Nelson. Replete with accents reminiscent of guitar great Django Reinhardt, it appears on the HONEYMOON IN VEGAS soundtrack, and represents yet another instance where background music trumps the film itself.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blogger DJ's Musical Toddy on Dark November night ? Duke Ellington at Newport (1956) !

Click here to listen.

Just listen to Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue, and bathe in the warmth of alto saxman Paul Gonsalves' historic 27-chorus improvisation.  For more on the concert and this piece, click here and/or here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Has the Age of Aquarius Come and Gone ?

Maybe not.  There seems to be some difference of opinion among astrologers when this epoch began or will begin, and what it means.  For more info see the Wikipedia articles on Astrological Cycles and the Age of Aquarius respectively.  For those who just dig the Fifth Dimension and their cover of the best song from Hair, click here.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hey guy ! Got the gloomy New England day blues ?

Click Here to Hear

Here's a cheesy fix.  Listen to a few BudLight  'Real Men of Genius' ads.
Really. Yup, that's all I've got.
Well, what do you want for free, anyway ?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blogger DJ Goes Eclectic Tonight...

...with selections by Swing Out Sister, Wham, Kim Carnes, Divinyls, The Motels, The Tubes, 'Til Tuesday, Robert Palmer, Cheap Trick, The Cars, Greg Kihn, Elvis Costello, General Public, Missing Persons, Split Enz, Icile Works, Dan Hartman, Cutting Crew, Paul Young, Kajagoogoo, Talk Talk, Bryan Adams, Wang Chung, Dire Straits. Just click here to listen.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tonight, Blogger DJ's Having a '60's Folk-Rock Flashback...

...featuring the Mamas and Papas, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, and Donovan.

Check it out on You Tube.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Need to disappear ?

Stuff you should put on your shopping list. Gun optional, of course.

I'm not talking Claude-Rains-Invisible Man style, here. I'm talking Matt-Damon-Bourne Identity-style.

So, if it's the latter, then you should definitely read, if not commit to memory, Mark Nestmann's piece in FINANCIAL SENSE, entitled,"When You Need to Disappear", excerpted below.

BTW, if you need to disappear Claude-Rains-style ?  Sorry, pal. Find yourself another blog.

* * *

Whistleblower Edward Snowden needs to disappear if he is to avoid kidnapping, assassination, extradition, or deportation to the United States. If you’re ever faced by a situation in which you need to disappear, right away, what would you do?

Perhaps someone is bent on revenge and has threatened to kill you. Perhaps you’re caught in an impossible personal or financial situation and you feel that “going underground” is the only way out. Or perhaps like Snowden, you find yourself an enemy of the state.

If you’re in such a situation, privacy may be a matter of life or death. You need to be prepared to act quickly, and when the time comes, not to hesitate.

When that time comes, first, throw away your cell phone. A cell phone may be bugged so that its location can be tracked even if the phone is switched off. When you turn it on, if the person after you has access to the cellular network—and it’s not difficult for a hacker to gain such access—your cell phone may betray your location.

Replace your existing cell phone with several anonymous prepaid cell phones, if you live in a country where you can buy one. You can still buy such phones in the United States. Buy phones with wi-fi cards so that you can connect to the Internet. Be prepared to throw away your anonymous cell phone—potentially, after just a single call. Also, purchase prepaid calling and prepaid Internet access. Pay in cash. Activate your phone at a pay phone—not with a phone connected to you in any way. Don’t give out your real phone number when you activate the phone.

Pack a suitcase with anything you need to exist for the next few months, including your new cell phone and a laptop configured with a virtual private network (VPN) like Cryptohippie ( Travel as lightly as you can.

Keep several thousand dollars in cash (or equivalent local currency) on hand at home, stored in a secure location. Don’t use an ATM unless you have no alternative. Using an ATM will reveal your location to your pursuers. If you must use an ATM, withdraw as much cash as you can, and don’t use an ATM again as long as you’re on the run. From that point forward, use cash only...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hey, Huey Lewis Fans ! Check this out !

Click here to hear Heart and Soul

You've got to read Steve Hyden's article/interview in Grantland, 'Huey Lewis's Old, Weird America', excerpted below.


"I don't know what a new record is anymore," Lewis says. "I think what we have to do is record it, and video the recording and make a YouTube clip. I think YouTube is what matters. Records don't matter."

As a prolific seller of records once upon a time, Lewis is naturally perturbed by this. "American popular music is our only art form. It's our most important export, period. And since time began, it's been handled not as an art form but as a commodity. I mean, all records are the same price. Books are different prices, paintings are different prices, wine is different prices, but all music is the same fucking price. And why? Because the executives in charge of the business are not real businesspeople. They didn't go to business school, they don't have a business vision. 'He just managed a band that sold 8 million records. So let's put him in charge.'"

Click here to hear But It's Alright
Here's one thing the record business is definitely no longer good at: selling rock albums made by thirtysomething white men who are into sax solos and doo-wop. MJ, Prince, Springsteen — you can point to contemporary artists attempting to follow their commercial examples. But Huey Lewis represents an archetype that is not only absent from the pop charts, it's one that is nearly impossible for a young person to imagine ever being popular. Sports is the epitome of old-world musical broadness — it touches on new wave, '60s soul, beer-commercial blues, and classic honky-tonk. One of the album's most recognizable tracks, "I Want a New Drug," topped the dance charts. That's right — the clubs of '84 banged to Huey Lewis and the News. It's inconceivable that any album today could (or would even attempt to) cover so many bases in such a deliberate "one size fits all" manner.

"I think everybody's screwed by that," Lewis says. "[In the past] music was integrated, but society was segregated. Today, society is integrated, but music is segregated. And that's not a good thing. Information is segregated. If you're a right-winger, you know there's a bunch of shows you can watch where nobody disagrees with you. If you're a left-winger, there are other shows, nobody disagrees with you. Not healthy. Not good."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

We welcome any sign that the Apocalypse has been postponed

Enough already, says WB
even when said portent is merely Warner Bros' cancelling a Dumb and Dumber sequel ( according to The Hollywood Reporter.)

However, be advised that other studios may yet embrace the project, so we're not entirely out of the woods, end-of-the-world-wise.

On this soggy N.E. day, Blogger DJ daydreams about summer sun sand and surf...

...with one of his Beach Boys faves, Surfer Girl.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pensive Blogger DJ Salutes Brian Wilson

...with a medley of just some Beach Boys favorites,including "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times", Ronnie Spector's "Don't Worry Baby" cover, a capella version of "God Only Knows", and a fun live performance of "Surfer Girl".
Brian Wilson, the Greatest Beach Boy


Monday, April 1, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Update - Blogger DJ's Salute to Neil Diamond Has Jumped the Rails

[ Friday, February 8

Let me atone for the fact that I'd covered this ground before, and not so long ago, by citing yet another cover, this being English Beat's terrific reinterpretation of Andy Williams' Can't Get Used to Losing You.  ]

* * *

and become a discussion of covers.

Couldn't find a cover of Cherry Cherry, but lots of folks have tried their pipes and axes on I'm a Believer, like The Monkees and Smashmouth (although the latter's version strikes me as being a cover of The Monkees' cover).

Some covers are distinct, inventive reinterpretations, like UB40's reggae rendition of  Red Red Wine. Or Amy Winehouse's acoustic cover of The Shirelles' Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Or Tom Rush's vibrant uptempo version of James Taylor's Something in the Way She Moves. Or Harry Nillson's hyper-romantic cover of Badfinger's Without You.

That's not to say that covers which cleave to the original are necessarily inferior, for Chris Isaak's rendition of Solitary Man is palpably moving. Tom Rush's cover does not demean Joni Mitchell's Urge for Going by comparison. Not sure if I can say the same for The Tremeloes' exuberant cover of Cat Steven's Here Comes my Baby.