Miscellaneous Christmas Gleanings

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain routinely gives little gifts to their fans at Christmastime in the form of particularly generous postings on their (already very generous) website; this year they’ve posted a series of videos under the title “Christmas Playalong.”  Here’s one of them:

Also, our old friend Al Wood has posted his usual excellent Christmas things at Ukulele Hunt, including the Christmas UkeToob.

I remember Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fondly, or perhaps I should say I am of the age of people who remember that show fondly. I didn’t have a TV when it was on. Anyway, I don’t think I’d ever heard this one before.

Here‘s a holiday favorite:

And a great classic from the 1980s:

Thanks to theologian Alastair Roberts, I found a new favorite Christmas song just this morning, as I said on Twitter:

This has been making the rounds today:

Psychologist James Thompson engages in one of the most venerable of all Anglican religious traditions, publicly declaring that Anglicanism is doomed and wondering whether it deserves to die. I can’t explain why we do that, I can only say that it’s our way.

Jacobin magazine has a brief summary of how the Christian Left in the USA tends to think of Christmas, which picks up where James Brown left off a few decades ago:

I allowed myself a little scholarly musing on Twitter this morning, in response to a remark by Tom Holland:

As to who should do what with which holiday at this many-festivalled time of the year, here‘s a view from Mya Gosling:

Asked on tumblr whether it’s okay for Gentiles to celebrate Hanukkah, Scott Alexander writes:

To stick with stuff on tumblr for a minute, here’s a cartoon in which Gahan Wilson expresses irritation that various holidays, including Christmas and Halloween, run together in the USA:

This is kind of neat:

The Comics Curmudgeon has taken a vacation over the holiday, and it looks like Rebecca Watson is missing him as much as I am:

Ross Pearsall has put together a nice concept cover for a Christmas comic book that ought to exist:

calvin-and-snoopy

So, Merry Christmas, everybody.   And:

I feel you, Johanna

Halloween is coming, so I recently watched the video of the 1982 touring company of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  I wonder if the opening lines of the song “Johanna”- “I feel you, Johanna, I feel you”- are the source of the phrase “I feel you,” meaning “I share your concerns and understand your position,” that was in such widespread use a couple of years ago.  Anyway, it’s a good song.  Here is a clip from that 1982 video showing the bits of it from before and after the confrontation between the sailor Anthony and the evil Judge Turpin:

Out of context, a man telling a woman that no barriers can stop him from his plan to “steal” her may sound creepy, though in the show it is clear that she needs all the help she can get to escape from Judge Turpin and the nightmarish London he and men like him have created.  Perhaps the problem of the male rescuer can be alleviated a bit if we turn to Bernadette Peters’ concert version of the song:

Another reinterpretation of the song is provided here, by Robert Adams:

“Happily you were not rotten…”

Our ukulele links

As I continue paring down our collection of links pages, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time for us to let go of the one for the ukulele.  I still love the ukulele and still use some of our links pages, but that page hasn’t been updated since June 2012.  So here are the links from it that are still live as of today:

Ukulele Acts (more…)

Pythagoras Today

Slate recently reran a New Scientist piece about the similarities between mathematical patterns musicologists use and mathematical patterns  researchers to explore other fields.  Pythagoras did something similar two and a half millennia ago, and built a whole religion around it.  The Pythagorean cult was apparently still up and running in 1959, that’s when no less a celebrity than Donald Duck was initiated into Pythagoreanism:

 

Dave Brubeck, RIP

Dave Brubeck died today, I’m sad to say.  I’ve always had a soft spot for him.  A few numbers I’d mention are his versions of “Linus and Lucy,” “These Foolish Things,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Le Souk.”  I shook his hand once, after a concert in 1987.

Something Brilliant

This was one of the Videos of the Week the other day at Ukulele Hunt, I hope it wins the Nobel Prize for Awesomeness:

 

Phil Doleman takes over the Classical Ukulele blog

Yesterday morning I thought of Classical Ukulele, a blog I started in February 2010 and proceeded to do nothing with.  It struck me that it was a shame to waste such a good url, and I wished I could hand it off to someone who would make proper use of it.  Then I opened my email, and saw that WordPress had a message for me.  Someone had started following Classical Ukulele.  It turned out to be Phil Doleman of the Re-Entrants.  When I saw that Phil had started a blog called The Classical Ukulele, I contacted him and offered to give him the url for Classical Ukulele.  He accepted.  So, if you are interested in the ukulele as an instrument of the classical repertoire, Phil’s your man now.

Ukulele Hunt’s Ukulele Video of the Year 2011 Contest

It’s time to go to Ukulele Hunt and vote for the best ukulele video posted online last year.  I seem to have been the first person to have voted for Amanda Palmer & the Young Punx’ “Map of Tasmania” (Oh. My. Gawd!,) and the second to have voted overall.  I won’t deny that several of the other candidates are probably at least as good (especially LP’s “Into the Wild“), but I couldn’t help myself.

Sarah E. Laing went to a tUnE-yArDs concert last month

Two of my favorites together- Sarah E. Laing and tUnE-yArDs.

LET ME BE FRANK

Here is a clip from Tune-yards if you want to get an idea of what they’re about. Otto really loves this clip because ‘you can see the kids growing up.’

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I like Pandora

I’ve been putting in some long hours on the job recently, which is why I haven’t been posting much.  One thing I do to break up the monotony of long sessions of paperwork is to let one or another of our Pandora stations play in the background.  Pandora has introduced me to a lot of music that I like very much.  For example, I’d never heard of Labi Siffre until “Bless the Telephone” popped up on some station or other, now he’s one of my favorites.  Nor had I heard of Polk Miller until “Pussycat Rag” ” (download it for free here) came on our station devoted to the Hoosier Hotshots, now I can’t get enough of him either.   So here are YouTube embeds featuring those two artists.

Labi Siffre, “Bless the Telephone

Polk Miller and the Old South Quartette, “What a Time

Also, here’s Labi Siffre’s own website.  Since Polk Miller died in 1913, he doesn’t maintain a website, but here’s a review of a CD release of his recordings.