Archives: December 2005
Sat Dec 31, 2005
Happy New Year
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Jeff Miller wants to know about my quirks:
Rules: "The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits of yourself," and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You are tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours."
I'm one of the most normal people I know, and I don't have any "weird habits." But if you insist, here are a few aspects of my behaviour that may seen odd to less well-balanced people:
1. I never use bookmarks. When I'm interrupted while reading, I say the page number to myself, and that fixes it in my mind until I can pick up the book again.
2. I never retrace my path if I can help it. If I go upstairs by the south stairway at work, I return to my office by the east stairway.
3. While my lunch cooks in the microwave at work, I do pliés and elevés in first, second and fifth position.
4. When I see an interesting costume, I try to figure out how to construct it. (This is happening now with anime -- an ominous development.)
5. When I come across paired or repeated images, I look at them as I would a stereogram to see if a third dimension appears.
Fred is goofing off in Florida right now, which is a pity. I expect that he has plenty of peculiarities. Let's see ... how about Sarah, Robert, the Jelly-Pinched Wolf or Kashi? (Kashi's retired from blogging, but she is welcome to post in the comments here.) It's hard to imagine that Chan has any weird habits, even if she is an authority on disco, but sometimes those are just the ones who do.
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Thought for the day
There's a reason the Greeks believed in the Muses: it was a reasonable way to account for the fact that people who could be so stupid in the rest of life could suddenly and inexplicably be so profound when they sang.
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Fri Dec 30, 2005
Has anyone read The Master and Margarita? Is it worth tracking down? I've come across the title many times, but I don't think I've ever seen a review of the novel.
(Via Catholic Ragemonkey.)
Soundtrack: Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, "Allswell That Endswell in Roswell"
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Beware the kawaii
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The truth about the Information Age
David Gelernter on the Cybersphere:
The most important solution to the problematic Information Age has nothing to do with the web. Eventually we will get over the idea that playing with computers and the Internet is inherently virtuous. Schools ought to take the same line on web--browsing as they do on poker; it can be profitable if you're lucky, but do it on your own time. It's true that some schools have made sound educational use of computers and software. But my guess is that, on balance, American schools would do better if they junked their Macs and PCs and let students fool around somewhere else. Schools should be telling students to read books, not play with computers.
Soundtrack: Don Ross, "Groovy Sunflowers"
(Later: You never catch the typos until after you post. Grrr.)
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Mrs. M meets Mrs. M at the north bridge
I was curious to see just how well the tunes this week did go together, so here they are, two at a time and all at once. In order of appearance, they are "Mrs. MacInroy of Lude," the strathspey; "Mrs. MacInroy of Lude," the reel; and, "North Bridge of Edinburgh."
MacInroy Bridge (1.1 megabyte)
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by Neil Gow. This is labeled a "reel" in The Skye Collection, but it sounds like a strathspey to me.
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Thu Dec 29, 2005
Ultimate proof ...
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The official English translation of "Haibane Renmei" is "Charcoal Feather Federation," which has never made much sense to me. All the charcoal I've ever seen was pure black, but a haibane's wings are typically light grey. It turns out that the Japanese make a sort of white charcoal, which does have a pale grey surface.
Soundtrack: Bach (or maybe not)/Busoni: Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV 565
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Gigahertz and calories
Forget gingerbread houses. Let's make a gingerbread computer.
(Via Opposable thumbs.)
Also via Opposable thumbs and Chizumatic comes word of an idea whose time should never have come: Pac-Man: the Movie.
Addendum: Yet another horrifying idea: Shuggoth on the Roof.
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Another strathspey. According to Keith Norman Macdonald, this tune and the two "Mrs. MacInroys" go well together, and I supposed they ought to; the harmonizations in The Skye Collection of the Best Reels & Strathspeys Extant are virtually identical.
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Wed Dec 28, 2005
Links for lunch
A couple of very different sites to spend too much time at:
Ask an Astrophysicist. Sponsored by NASA; researchers answer questions about black holes, Wolf-Rayet stars, gamma ray bursts and other astronomical topics.
VintageSewing.info. An online collection of public-domain sewing books. This may not sound utterly fascinating to most visitors here, but I've done quite a bit of costuming over the years, and this sort of site is extremely useful to anyone who sews.
Soundtrack: Cairo, "Western Desert"
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Tue Dec 27, 2005
Mon Dec 26, 2005
Here are some recent search strings that brought hapless visitors here. Some of them I can explain; others are beyond me.
girls with guns
the dragon cant dance summary
what is "fum fum fum"
humulus lupulus related to cannabis cannabinaceae
carry on trombone
yomiko readman asperger's syndrome
eddie vedder is old and decrepit
workouts that can make me toller
scary solstice mp3
cloggers chickweed lane
gordian knob download
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A footnote on Mozart from Hucbald:
My first hint that something was wrong with the Mozart myth came when I was a doctoral candidate. I stumbled across some facsimilies of his notebooks from his time taking counterpoint lessons from Padre Giambattista Martini. They sucked! I mean, they sucked ass! By that time, my counterpoint was far superior. Just wacky weirdness permeated these notebooks: Abortive fugal attempts with inappropriate harmonic passages and... hopeless. At the beginning, that is. He was indeed... ah... a very fast learner. But he was a teen at this time, so what about all of that impossible-for-his-age early stuff?
Well, it now seems that his father Leopold probably corrected a lot of that early music, and he may even have written some of it entirely!
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Why are used car lots characteristically festooned with red, white and blue banners? Is there something intrinsically American about buying and selling unreliable vehicles?
Soundtrack: Szymanowski, Mazurka, Op. 50, #8
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Sun Dec 25, 2005
Christmas in Kansas
-- Not white, but brown and muddy.
-- No silverbells. But there is an alley-full of large, bored dogs barking hysterically at anything that moves.
-- No sleighbells in the snow. But there are intermittent bass thumpings from the other half of the duplex. Whether they're from a CD, a video game, a movie or a teevee show, I don't know.
-- Fewer holiday displays than I remember in the past. However, one I pass daily features a vast quantity of blinking lights and four inflatable figures, including a snowman and Satan (to use Fr. Tharp's spelling (think anagramatically)). The yard next to it has just one item on display, an inflatable Grinch.
— Peace on Earth? Hah.
-- Good will toward men? That would be easier to manage if I didn't live in close proximity with mankind.
Nevertheless, Merry Christmas, everyone.
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The Frog of Paradise
This has got to be either the greatest movie ever made, or the stupidest: Raccoon Princess.
The film informs us, from the outset, that this is not going to be a conventional ride. A twinkle-eyed farmer speaks directly to us as he sets two traps; never, he says, should a Tanuki fall in love with a man, nor vice versa. Perhaps cruelly, he sets two traps to ensnare one of each and thus begin the game. Far from being a distancing gesture, this delighted the crowd. Abandon all snarkiness, ye who enter here, Suzuki seems to be saying. And if you're going to follow a film that deploys every fakey theatrical trick in the book (painted backdrops, kabuki-esque posing, copious musical numbers), you'd best not be snarky. Wait, did I say musical numbers? No shit, Jack, this picture has opera, pop, glam rock and hip-hop numbers in it, all choreographed to the silly hilt. If you're not enchanted by Ziyi's beautifully sung ode to the handsome prince, delivered as she emerges from a waterfall, you'll surely be giggling with delight at the doped up, ska-ish theme of the Tanuki Palace, accompanied by hundreds of raccoon people at delerious play. A band of red-haired, whiskered musicians play wooden instruments and prance through the scene, and three adorable little raccoon girls provide extra vocal snazz. If this all sounds cutesy, then, well, it probably is. But it's delivered with such mind-blowing brio that you'll be too stoned to care. And you'll want the soundtrack instantly. The performers, in any case, are uniformly excellent, with Ziyi [Zhang] in particular a total vision, breathtaking to look at and listen to. They've all done their homework, and they're all acting in the house style: over-the-top but perfectly composed, like a pop art oil painting.
There's more on the film here. It looks like the filmmaker is a bit confused about Catholicism.
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Sat Dec 24, 2005
Beware the kawaii
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No hits, one error
I was surprised to discover yesterday that No Hits Radio still is broadcasting online, even though I cancelled it last week. I don't know how much longer it will remain available, but if you want to hear some eccentric music that caught my fancy, you can still tune in.
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"In Bethlehem's Cradle." A traditional Puerto Rican carol.
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Fri Dec 23, 2005
No need to fear?
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Make your own animated short with Flipbook.
Soundtrack: The Plaid Family, "Alawon Fy Ngwlad/Silver Mines"
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Parting shot from the Christmas song cannon
An appreciation of the last good Christmas song ever written and the man who wrote it:
MacGowan is a sight. The jug-eared, toothless troubadour claims not to have drawn a sober breath since the age of twelve. He has done more to reinforce negative Irish stereotypes than the entire community of South Boston. He routinely blows off gigs to get drunk. He usually ends his rare press availabilities (which always take place in pubs) by calling reporters hateful names. If you're trying to get a mental picture of this guy, imagine a bloated and less articulate Keith Richards with a dash of Ozzie Osborne. Then remove the teeth and glue a cigarette to his fingers.
Soundtrack: Kou Ohtani, "Ailes Grises"
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"Jesus, the New-Born Baby." A traditional Italian carol.
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Thu Dec 22, 2005
Wed Dec 21, 2005
"Yuletide Is Here Again." A Swedish dance carol.
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Tue Dec 20, 2005
8 x 4
Blame this one on TT & OGIC:
Four jobs you've had in your life: reporter, janitor, cook, nursery hand
Four movies you could watch over and over: None; I am just not a movie-watcher. Instead, here are four books I frequently re-read: Gene Wolfe, The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories and Other Stories; R.A. Lafferty, Nine Hundred Grandmothers; Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; The Complete Works of Saki;
Four places you've lived: New Jersey, Virginia, Utah, Texas
Four TV shows you love to watch: Haibane Renmei; Serial Experiments Lain; Jubei-Chan: Secret of the Lovely Eye-Patch; Angelic Layer (These were all initially shown on television, so they count)
Four places you've been on vacation: Atlantic City, Pennsic, Fresno, I-70
Four websites you visit daily: Pibgorn, NRO, Ballet Talk, Chizumatic -- plus innumerable weblogs
Four of your favorite foods: fried chicken, brownies, steak, salmon
Four places you'd rather be: Lothlorien, Guri, Blandings Castle, Mythgarthr
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(2^p) - 1
This is big news for a certain sort of geek: a possible new Mersenne prime has been discovered. It may take a few days more to independently verify, because the number has ten million digits.
More about Mersenne primes here.
(Via John Derbyshire.)
Soundtrack: Xiao Xiannian, "Colorful Clouds Pursuing the Moon"
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The right reasons
Victor Morton recently announced that he was retiring his spasmodically-updated weblog, so I missed his review of Brokeback Mountain until Dale mentioned it. Morton is distinctly less hysterical than most other commentators in St. Blog's:
Now ... I'm not going to oversell BROKEBACK on these grounds. It's definitely not a Christian work, and one should approach it with caution. But if this story were about an illegitimate lisison between a married man and a married woman, maybe it would be far easier to see how comfortably BROKEBACK fits into the traditions and templates of romantic tragedy, and so (and this is what I care about here) not leap to conclusions about what the film is supposedly "endorsing."
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Glory be to God ...
... for Dappled Things, a new Catholic literary journal. Contributors include Eve Tushnet and Matthew the Whapster.
From the home page:
"Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity." -- G.K. Chesterton
Soundtrack: Spike Jones, "Nutcracker Suite"
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"O, come rejoicing, O, come rejoicing Bethlehem, rejoice ye!" A traditional Polish carol.
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Mon Dec 19, 2005
"Whom of Old the Shepherds Praised." From a 1410 manuscript. According to The International Book of Carols, "members of early German choirs copied the music of hymns thay sang ... into special books. Because this carol was a great favorite, it was usually the first number copied. As a result, the collections came to be known as Quempass books, a name coined from a contration of the first two words of this song."
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Sat Dec 17, 2005
Another Nutcracker nearer the grave
What you see on stage is difficult enough, but often what you don't see is also challenging. The hardest part of my role is not the dancing or the acting but occurs later, during the battle scene. I and another "parent" hide in the back of the enormous clock instead of exiting offstage after the party, and at our cue we haul the clock offstage quickly and quietly. The challenge is to do so without being seen by the audience and without smashing the stage lights or squashing any mice.
Still, Brian and I have it easier than one of the dancers. Noah is both the Mouse King in the battle and the cavalier in the snow scene, and he has exactly two minutes to completely change his costume, tights included.
Little boys do not need encouragement to misbehave.
Steven may have sat on Sophia Loren's lap, but Lauren Anderson tugged my ponytail this evening.
The party scene boys played some peculiar variations on "rock, paper, scissors" while waiting to go on stage. One was "rock, paper, scissors, dynamite." "Dynamite" is a closed fist with the thumb extended upward. Scissors can cut the fuse, but otherwise it blows up and everybody loses. At first I didn't see the point, but then I realized that these are little boys, and explosions are fun.
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The true origin of Pokemon
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An occult, New Age lion
If you think the lefties condemning C.S. Lewis are loony, check out the fundies:
Unlike typical anti-Harry Potter fundamentalists, who often haven't even read the books that so infuriate them, the Van Nattens have studied Lewis very, very closely, and their site is loaded with citations and footnotes. They think, among other things, that Lewis was actually a pagan sun god worshipper and occultist, not a Christian, although they suspect that the famous Anglican was also a secret Catholic, which in their view is just as bad as being a pagan.
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I've posted a selection of Nutcracker photos. Click on the picture of Jessica Gregory to see them.
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Fri Dec 16, 2005
Share the love
The voting is over in this year's Weblog Awards. Mixolydian Mode finished in the middle of the pack of pesky varmints, slighly ahead of Radioactive Liberty. Amazingly, not a single blog I voted for won its category. One, in fact, finished dead last. Nevertheless, Chip and his crack young colleagues prepared a characteristically graceful concession speech:
But let’s not blame ourselves for our miserable performance. As any “underrepresented” minority or woman knows, it’s a heck of a lot easier to foist the blame on white men. Trust us: It really cuts down on all the heart-rending introspection you must accomplish.
As much as we’d like—and as much as the world’s Affirmative Action Officers would esteem—we simply can’t blame whitey entirely for our dismal failures. There are many others who deserve a good drubbing.
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This looks like a superior time-waster. Unfortunately, it's Windoze-only.
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"Shepherd, Shake Off Thy Drowsy Sleep." A traditional Besaçon carol.
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Thu Dec 15, 2005
I've stated before that there is nothing objectionable in Haibane Renmei, but I was wrong. In fact, it should be R-rated: one of the central characters (gasp) smokes. Sorry for scandalizing everyone.
Soundtrack: Gryphon, "Estampie"
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"Christmas Comes Anew." A traditional French carol. The melody was also used for the song that gave the title to J.F. Powers' second novel, Wheat That Springeth Green (recommended). Marcel Dupre based "Variations on a French Noel" for organ on this tune
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Wed Dec 14, 2005
Waiting for the Endo
Meredith would like to see some Catholic anime. Although there are some series with Christian resonances, usually overt Christian elements are just exotic flavorings or, in vampire stories, part of the conceptual background. The Shusako Endo of animation has yet to appear. (It looks like I will have to watch Full Metal Alchemist once it's available as an inexpensive boxed set, though.)
One of the commentors to Meredith's post pointed out that there actually is a Catholic anime series, In the Beginning, begun by Osamu Tezuka at the Vatican's request. Tezuka was the creator of AstroBoy and is the artist credited/blamed for the oversized eyes that characterize anime. The series has been shown on EWTN, according to the commentor, but the 25 episodes apparently have never been released as region 1 DVDs; neither amazon.com nor The RightStuf have heard of it.
Addendum: The RightStuf does carry In the Beginning as a 25-tape dubbed VHS set for $269.78.
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I scanned about a hundred Nutcracker negatives last night -- I shot less than usual this year -- and I'll eventually post a page of pictures. In the meantime, here's Marcos Perez in the Chinese Dance.
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Tue Dec 13, 2005
I don't know whether to be excited or apprehensive: Studio Ghibli's new movie, directed by Goro Miyazaki (Hayao's son), will be based on Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books. It's sure to look beautiful, but how badly will Goro mangle the story?
Soundtrack: The Bacon Brothers, "Philadelphia Chickens"
Later: I made a 1280x1024 wallpaper of the Ghibli page. You can download it here.
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An old French tune that Father Jean de Brebeuf used in writing a Christmas carol in the Huron language. Here's the first verse of his song:
Estennialon d tsonue Iesus ahatonnia,
Onnauateua 'd'oki n'onandaskuaentak;
Enonchien skuatrihotat n'onuandilonrachatha,
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Mon Dec 12, 2005
I'm revising the playlist of No Hits Radio. I dropped about a third of the tunes and am currently uploading more peculiar music music to replace them. While the project is in progress, the playlist will be shorter and the order more than usually random. With a little luck, there should be some fresh eccentric music to listen to tomorrow.
Update: It's done. Additions include music by Don Ross, Shirim, Blodwyn Pig and Mick Abrahams, the Bonzo Dog Band, Qntal, Philip Pickett with Richard Thompson, Mike Cross and Spike Jones. Genres range from medieval techno to twisted Nutcrackers to sheer nonsense. Please note that unless this station becomes inexplicably popular, the music will stop in a week.
Addendum: John S. asked if No Hits Radio was difficult to set up or expensive. It wasn't hard to get it going, though it did get tedious. The procedure I used was to make normal-quality mp3s, which I then converted to Live365's "mp3 pro" format and uploaded to their server using their software. This took hours, even with DSL; apparently the coding is not very efficient. You can do this in large batches, fortunately, so you can start the process and then fix dinner and read all evening while your computer is working.
I'm taking advantage of a 30-day free trial, so it hasn't cost me anything -- yet. If I don't cancel, it will cost me somewhere between $10 and $15 a month to keep the station going, depending on the payment plan I choose.
I picked a relatively low-quality format so that I could post a lot of music -- seven hours' worth -- and so that people stuck with dial-up connections could listen. If I were to start over, I would probably experiment with other quality settings. Listening to my station, I hear a lot of high-pitched artifacts along with the music. The hissing is particularly annoying with sounds like bagpipes, which I why I dropped all the Clann An Drumma and most of Rare Air.
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With a modest smile
An attractive glimpse of Eugene McCarthy from an unlikely source:
The statutes make it clear that a candidate may not appeal to the intelligence of the audience before him. He may properly appeal to patriotism, to partisanship, or to pugilistic instincts; he may dwell upon the necessity of preserving the Republic from the depredations of the Administration in power. Other appeals should be reserved for smaller occasions. A candidate is expected to speak not less than 45 minutes and to gesture not fewer than 128 times. Poetry must be limited strictly—two passages from Shakespeare and one from Edgar A. Guest; no other authors are allowed. If a prepared text has been distributed to the press, at least a substantial part of the text should actually be delivered.
McCarthy paid no heed to these rules. "I have a limited measure of courage," he began. Those were his very words. He spoke for barely 23 minutes, and he made no gestures at all. He launched into a high-level discussion of Vietnam and went on to speak movingly of the Negro as a "colonial" in America. He had distributed a text to the press, but he never came within four and one-half miles of that text. He alluded to the poetry of Dylan Thomas and actually quoted from Robert Lowell. He summoned George Orwell to his side; he invoked Toynbee on the history of Rome. The 1,300 guests interrupted twelve times with applause; mostly they sat entranced. When he concluded, they gave him a 1:40-minute standing ovation. It was a good deal short of Barry playing the Cow Palace, but it wasn't bad.
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$20,000,000 worth of crap
From Cartoon Brew this morning:
This Reuters article offers some background on the film and says that HOODWINKED's budget was $15-20 million. To put that into perspective, the Weinsteins could have produced two amazing animated films for $20mil -- THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE and MIND GAME -- with spare change left over. The reason we don't see more films like BELLEVILLE and MIND GAME is not that they cost too much or that there aren't enough talented animation directors who can create such films; it's that Hollywood's live-action establishment doesn't understand (and remains willfully ignorant about) the animated art form. As long as these people continue to call the shots, the great possibilities of feature animation will remain untapped, and the development of the art form painfully stunted. And we'll continue to see directors like Zemeckis blow fortunes on "uncanny valley" quasi-animated films like POLAR EXPRESS, studios spend tens of millions to produce Saturday morning-quality fare like CURIOUS GEORGE, and producers like the Weinsteins invest in torturously bad projects like HOODWINKED.
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"Angels from Heaven." A Christmas carol from Hungary.
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Sun Dec 11, 2005
If only ...
The monk with the guitar speculates on what might have been:
Of the three mentioned so far, I believe that Bach achieved the most even balance between our three aspects of musical expression [emotional, cerebral and spiritual], but if only... if only Mozart had lived into his fifties or sixties he would have taken this honor (But then, Beethoven's career may not have been possible with Mozart looming over him. On the other hand, Wagner may never have seen the light of day if Mozart had lived, and that would have been excellent. Difficult choice to make. ;^)).
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Through the wardrobe
An interview with the real Lucy Pevensie:
Lewis was like an adoptive parent to her, Lady Freud says. "He influenced me hugely. He said he had developed my childish religion into an adult one. He gave me any book I wanted and said I could go to Blackwell's bookshop any time and put books on his account - but I was much too shy to do it.
"I had the benefit of two very erudite men talking at supper every night - Jack and Warnie. Jack could be very acerbic but he never was with me. If I made a stupid remark he didn't correct me, and I would only realise later. He did think I was bright."
(Via Amy Welborn.)
The single most encouraging thing I've read about the movie:
... I can't tell you how pleasant it was to sit through a film aimed largely at kids and not hear a single burp or fart joke.
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Sat Dec 10, 2005
New tune ...
... a medley, actually. Here are five Celtic melodies spliced together and treated rather roughly. It ain't subtle, but you can dance to it.
Celtic Noise (6.2 megabytes)
The tunes are "Colonel Thornton," "Tulloch Castle," "The Seaforth Highlanders," "Mrs. MacDonald, Skeabost" and "Steer the Gill." J. Scott Skinner would be appalled by this version of the second tune, which is supposed to be a slow "pastoral."
I'm tempted to post the 24-bit version of this. The 16-bit CD-quality file sounds thin in comparison, and the mp3 only hints at how heavy this arrangement is.
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Early and often II
Voting for the Weblog Awards coincides with Nutcracker season, so I didn't get a chance to visit the nominees until this morning. I just spent a depressing twenty minutes looking at the candidates for Best Culture/Gossip Blog. Ugh. Aside from The LLama Butchers and Sondra K, the emphasis of these blogs is gossip about people I haven't the slightest interest in. (The shoe blog gets a pass for its sheer Manolo-ness. I almost gave Ghost of a Flea a pass for the picture of George Orwell, but, sorry, the Rammstein video was crap.) As you would expect, the LLamas are getting clobbered. The New Criterion is a superior magazine, but its circulation is a small fraction of The National Enquirer's; in the same way, online readers who care about arts and letters are vastly outnumbered by those obessessed with slander and celebrity boobage.
In other news, I'm happy to report that Mixolydian Mode has been endorsed by no less than Mazurland. Chris, Marty and Paul are nominees in the Top 5001-6750 category. Go check them out, and then vote for them. Vote for me, too.
Soundtrack: Shirim, "Dance of the Dreydls"
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Fri Dec 09, 2005
Thu Dec 08, 2005
"At the Hour of Midnight." A traditional Puerto Rican carol.
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Wed Dec 07, 2005
Refresh your ears
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Tue Dec 06, 2005
By request: "From Starry Skies Thou Comest," words and music by St. Alphonsus Ligouri.
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"Intelligent design" is Not Interesting. Anyone who beats up a critic of ID, no matter how asinine the critic might be, is a creep and a thug.
Update: The story may be too bad to be true; see John Salmon's comment. Here's Michelle Malkin's discussion.
Update 2: Malkin has more. Mike Adams "interviews" Mirecki.
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A traditional Catalonian Carol. The English translation of the title is "Foom, Foom, Foom."
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Mon Dec 05, 2005
This week's Carnival of Music is up.
One of the contributors reflects on the difference between albums with good songs and good albums, and he applies his thoughts to television:
I've had this idea about television shows for a long time. I've thought to myself; what a wonderful opportunity a television show is. If you had the patience to treat a show like a really long movie or a book brought to life, you could do great things.
What I mean is, write out everything before it ever hits the air. Instead of having a show of episodes and seasons, just have one gigantic, overarching plot leading to the end. And then, when you're done, no matter how popular the show might be by that point, do not give in to the temptation to continue.
Think of the possibilities! You could bring in just as many characters and sub-plots as a full-length novel without worrying about time, because a show has hours and hours over the span of months to be able to cover all the bases. And all the while, you could be building to something larger, giving the impression the entire time of going somewhere.
I have a suggestion for him: forget television as it exists in America. If you want long narrative arcs with definite beginnings and ends, watch anime.
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If you think Harry Potter is growing up too rapidly, you might want to peruse Koge Donbo's Potter fansite, moonless night. Donbo, creator of the original Sugar, a Tiny Snow Fairy, apparently is a great fan of the Hogwarts universe. Harry has never looked so kawaii.
Addendum: Here's a different take on Potter.
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It's Nutcracker season, and for the next two weeks I'll be spending most of my evenings either on stage or taking pictures of dancers. Time for music is going to be short. I hope you all don't mind if I repeat some Christmas carols from a couple of years ago for the next three weeks. Here's the first in a series of less-familiar Christmas tunes, a traditional Spanish Carol.
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Sun Dec 04, 2005
Early and often ...
... is how to vote in this year's Weblog awards. The finalists have been posted, and Mixolydian Mode made the cut in the "top 2501-3500" category, along with fourteen other flappy birds and small mammals. Voting begins tomorrow; you can vote once a day in every category.
Several blogs from the right-hand column are also finalists. Once again, the LLama Butchers are among the candidates in the "culture/gossip" category while About Last Night isn't. (They're still underdogs, though; they're up against Manolo's Shoe Blog.) "Humor/comics" finalists include Day by Day, Iowahawk, Scrappleface, The Hatemonger's Quarterly and IMAO. Flos Carmeli is among the "religious blog" finalists. There are some others from St. Blog's nominated, but that particular list is noteworthy for who's not on it.
Once again, Eve Tushnet is not a finalist. Next year I may nominate her in every category and hope someone takes the hint.
Soundtrack: Estampie, "Razon"
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Sat Dec 03, 2005
This has been turning up in various odd places, ranging from the Old Home Bulletin Board to Mark Shea, and it is clever, though I still dislike excessive Christmas lighting. (Turn the volume up if you like melodic metal.)
Wizards of Winter
As best as I can tell from Google, the music is by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Update: a little more information and some other videos can be found here.
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Fri Dec 02, 2005
Seeing if I can set up an RSS feed. Let me know if this does or doesn't work.
Later: Does it work right now? If it still doesn't, where can I find a clear and comprehensible explanation of how to set up syndication?
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Shield your eyes
Yahoo lets you construct avatars. This is the closest approximation of myself I could manage with the choices available. I don't usually dress this conservatively, and my hair isn't that short.
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Ugly and poisonous?
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On the highway ...
... to Purgatory: AC/DC revised by TSO:
Livin' easy, lovin's hard,
Season ticket on a one-way ride,
Askin' graces, spiritual retard,
Livin' still with too much pride,
Have some reason, have some rhyme,
Ain't much I would rather do
Goin' on, this earthly time,
My friends are gonna be there too..
I applaud the sentiment, but the refrain is a bit awkward to sing:
I'm on the highway to Purgatory!
On the highway to Purgatory!
Highway to Purgatory!
I'm on the highway to Purgatory!
Just wondering: are there any other words containg "wkw"?
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Or "The Hessians' March," the "march past of the Gordons."
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Thu Dec 01, 2005
A friend sent me the link to Pandora, an online music service. If you give it the name of an artist or song you like, it assembles a radio station for you that plays similar music. Unfortunately, its database isn't large enough to be useful. When I suggested the Klezmatics, it asked me if I meant the Plasmatics or the Meta-Matics. Um, no. Gordian Knot yielded James Taylor, which makes no sense. Sean Malone's technical metal project doesn't sound in the least like Carly Simon's ex.
Stephen Bennett at Winfield several years ago
One of my favorite guitarists will give a concert in Wichita a week from Saturday. Stephen Bennett, the only performer to have won guitars in both the fingerpicking and flatpicking competitions at Winfield, will play at Dawson United Methodist Church, 2741 Laura St in Wichita, at 7:30 p.m. December 10. Tickets are $10 at the door. Unfortunately, at 7:30 Saturday I will be on stage elsewhere as one of the parents in The Nutcracker. But if you're in the area and you have the evening free, by all means go to Bennett's concert.
Soundtrack: King Crimson, "Sailor's Tale"
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