Archive for the 'music' Category


Useful things

It’s about time someone came up with a way to make the weather report this simple. Because really, isn’t that all we need to know?

There’s a theory that any movie could be improved by adding ninjas to it—even movies that already have ninjas. I’d like to add this corollary: there’s no song that can’t be improved by adding cowbells and Christopher Walken to it.


Looking forward to July 15

A new Joss Whedon project? Check.

Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, and Neil Patrick Harris? Check.

And they’re all singing? Double-check.

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Let me own up to two things:

1. I watched a lot of MTV in the ’80s and was especially fond of a-ha’s “Take on Me.” (I own Hunting High and Low—and Scoundrel Days, too. On vinyl, even.)

2. Butt-related humor cracks me up.

So you can see why I think this (via John Scalzi) is just awesome:



Knitting and music

Take a look at this music video by the Quebecois band Tricot Machine. The song is called “Les peaux de lièvres,” and the video is made up of 700 (yes, SEVEN HUNDRED) unique knitted scenes:



I can’t wait to see this

Girls Rock!


Indeed they do!

Wow, doesn’t this look like an amazing film? The trailer alone is impressive. How fabulous to see adolescent girls feeling confident and empowered—and not because of what anyone else tells them but because of what they accomplish and how they themselves feel about it.

Here is the website for the film (which hits theaters on March 7), if you’re interested in more info.


Preparing for Christmas

pc158670treehat.jpgOur tree is up. We’ve baked five different kinds of cookies (with lots of help from Sylvia, who is an expert stirrer and cookie-decorator…so what if the sugar-cookie snow man’s buttons are in the middle of his face instead of his chest, right?). All cards and packages went out in the mail last week. And I finally finished this Christmas-tree-shaped hat for Sylvia. I love this pattern (though in future renditions I think I’d make the red border at the bottom a bit longer) and the yarn I used (I heart Lamb’s Pride bulky).

I knit all of it last winter but had the hardest time keeping the I-cord evenly spaced while attaching it to the hat, so I put it aside out of frustration. I picked it up again a couple of weeks ago, and after about five attempts managed to get the I-cord “garland” on the tree nicely. Sylvia wore the hat last weekend, when we went to a local farm (it’s a county park that’s a working farm—one of our favorite places to visit) to see Santa. She was a bit wary of Santa, but utterly enamored with the candy cane he gave her.

In addition to holiday knitting, I’ve also been playing Christmas carols on our piano a lot lately. We have a few Fireside books (Folk Songs, Favorite American Songs, and Song Book of Birds and Beasts; interestingly, that last one was collected and edited by Jane Yolen, whose Owl Moon is one of Sylvia’s favorites) but, aside from a few pieces in those books, didn’t have much holiday music.

When Jan was growing up, his family had a book called A Treasury of Christmas Songs and Carols that he loved. So we poked around online and managed to find a used copy on sale. It arrived a few weeks ago, and we’ve really been enjoying working out way through it. It’s a retired library copy, so it has the library binding. But the pages are totally pristine. Our copy is the seventh printing of the first edition, from 1955, so the composer dates always make me do a double-take. “The Three Ships,” for example, has “Alfred Noyes (1880- )” and “Colin Taylor (1881- ).”

There’s a huge variety of songs in this book, which is divided into sections: “British and American Carols,” “Carols from Foreign Parts,” “Christmas Hymns and Chorales,” “Especially for Children,” “Christmas Solo Songs,” and “Christmas Rounds and Canons.” I’ve found lots of old favorites in here and made some new friends, too. But the one that always brings a smile to my face is this one, penned by Henry W. Longfellow to a traditional tune:

“Nuns in Frigid Cells”

Nuns in frigid cells
At this holy tide,
For want of something else
Christmas songs at times have tried
Let us, by the fire,
Ever, ever higher
Sing, sing, sing
them till the night expire

I mean, really: who doesn’t think of nuns in frigid cells when they think of Christmas, right?


Avast! It’s nearly here!

Talk Like a Pirate Day is on September 19 this year (and every year, actually). Are you ready?

It’s one of my favorite holidays (should we start a letter-writing campaign to get Congress to declare it a national holiday? hmmm…). I wrote about pirate-speak and pirate-knitting last year. I still haven’t gotten around to trying my hand at the “We Might Be Pirates” hat, but I do spend a lot of time listening to pirate music.

Crafty Crafty has a nice list of pirate-related knitting projects. Those of you who are speedy with the needles might be able to crank out one or two before the big day. (Me, I’ll just start planning ahead for next year…)



Better than sliced bread

Yes, it’s that cool.

Jan and I are always on the lookout for “kids music that won’t drive parents and other adults insane.” I am horrified to admit that my house contains its share of Raffi CDs. Sylvia likes them all right, but she seems to prefer kids music along the lines of They Might Be Giants, Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Burl Ives, all of whom have recorded “kids music that won’t drive parents and other adults insane–unless said parents and adults can’t stand alternative or folk music, of course.”

Several months ago, I heard of Captain Bogg and Salty, a band from Portland, Oregon, a kids-music band that sings pirate-themed songs. OH MY DOG (as our friend Gina likes to say). We celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day in this house, so finding music along those lines has been a real treat. Sylvia got one of their CDs for Christmas (after her parents dropped several hints to Santa)–it matches the three different toy pirate ships she has–and we’re planning to get the rest for her collection soon.

They even have a music video, which you can check out here. Arrrrrr!

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