Archive for December, 2011

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Gerard van Honthorst, Birth of Christ, 1622

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Thanks as ever to Sacred Sandwich for this…



And Merry Christmas to all!

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Itzhak Perlman goes improv

Happy Hanukkah!  And this klezmer music featuring Itzhak Perlman is nothing but happy.  He and his fiddle join up with four different groups in this 10-minute film, so watch all or part of it. 

 As one of the comments says, “This makes me want to dance around and break stuff!” 

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“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is one of my wife Jeri’s favorite carols, probably because it lends itself so well to jazz.

I did have a video of Jerry Garcia and David Grisman scheduled until YouTube deleted it. But I found an adequate substitute.

Mister Bean really gets into the Christmas spirit with his chance to conduct a Salvation Army band. Get a chuckle out of it.

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…but not on Schroeder when he’s around Lucy. 

Happy Birthday, Ludwig.


Have a listen to Ivo Pogorelich as he plays Für Elise:

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It’s over, for now

It really began in 1991 (or 1990, if we count Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait), but the current phase began in 2003 because we could.  Let this be the end of it. 


Timeline:  U.S. Troops in Iraq (source:  BBC News) 

  • March 2003 – Operation Iraqi Freedom begins with a “shock and awe” assault on Baghdad, which falls in under a month
  • May 2003 – President George Bush declares “mission accomplished”
  • Dec 2003 – Saddam Hussein captured in a bunker south of Tikrit
  • April 2004 – Photos emerge showing abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison
  • 2005 – Suicide attacks in Iraq hit all-time high as insurgency spreads
  • January 2007 – US troop “surge” begins, leading to a drop in violence by 2008
  • August 2010 – Last US combat troops leave Iraq



Ending an earlier war:  Saigon, Vietnam, 1975.  Fleeing the U.S. Embassy.

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It means Celebrate! or Rejoice… Maybe “Get down and boogie.”

Gaudete, gaudete!
Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine,

Rejoice, rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary,

The Tenebrae Choir makes lively work of this 16th Century Christmas carol.

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The day after…

The New York Times, December 8, 1941:

Click once or twice to enlarge.



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“The day…”

The president’s address, 70 years ago today:

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Bloom County, circa 1983:  Items in the news. 

Opus knows just what to do.











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Dandelions in December

It’s the coast of Maine.   It’s December already.   Why are plants and insects beginning to think it’s May?

Some years, May is colder than this.

This morning I walked to the post office with dog Gracie and her buddy Cairn, who is on loan for a few days, and we spotted a dandelion alongside the road.   Other ones, gone to seed, stood next to it.   Walking at the speed of two old dogs, I noticed a lot more on the way home and picked a small bouquet from various people’s lawns (they’re summer people and this is supposed to be winter, so they’re not here).   A hornet, though a bit sluggish, nuzzled the nectar in one of them.

At 50 degrees outside I felt foolish wearing winter gloves, but once out there it’s easier to keep them on than to carry them, and the bright blue came in handy to contrast the dandelions in the photo.

There is no global warming.   And the earth is flat.

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This version of Pie Jesu is arranged by Andrew Lloyd Webber and sung by Sissel.

The Latin translates into something like,

“Holy Jesus,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Grant them peace.

Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Grant them peace,
Everlasting peace.”

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Anticipating winter

I suppose every blog needs a “here is a picture of my cat” page.  This is Little Sal, thinking I stacked the cellar woodpile just for her. 

Now that it’s December and cooled down (?!) into the 40s Fahrenheit, I finally got around to putting on the storm door.  Usually it goes up about Halloween, and even then it’s past due because October gets pretty chilly around here.  This year I skipped right over Thanksgiving and into a bona fide winter month.

Some years, we tear the page off the calendar and December brings arctic air flash-freezing a bit of sense into us, but it’s hard to take winter seriously when I’m still out on the water with sleeves rolled up, and bringing in traps without spray freezing on the windshield.  The pattern of high pressure over the mid-atlantic states has been sending air up from the Gulf of Mexico instead of down from Siberia. 

But, the calendar says it’s December, so up goes the storm door.  Finally. 

Sorry no photo of the door.  Little Sal is more interesting.      


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