Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

You must remember this

October 12, 2015

The Dilbert from 10/10, on the fragility of memory:


Memory is fragile in the here and now, as for the pointy-haired boss and Dilbert (above), but even more so in the longer term, as in this Zach Kanin cartoon from the October 12th New Yorker:


As I’ve posted about many times, this sort of memory is a construction, often in flux, showing the effects of selective attention, expectations, and later experience (including things you’ve heard about). The white whale loomed big in (this) Captain Ahab’s mind, and so in his memory.

Now the title of this posting, the first line of the song “As Time Goes By”.


From the 80s

October 11, 2015

The restaurant Reposado, where I regularly have lunch, plays Mexican popular music, in Spanish (more on this below), on its sound system on weekdays, but popular music in English on weekends, when visitors to Palo Alto might prefer it. Yesterday I noticed that I recognized almost all of the songs, even while I was mostly concentrated on reading and taking notes. It started with Madonna’s “Material Girl” and went through a range of other songs. Here’s a list of the ones I caught, with the dates of their release:

“Material Girl” (1984), “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (1983), “Electric Avenue” (1982), “Relax” (1983), “(I’m) Bad” (1987), “Tainted Love” (Soft Cell version, 1981), “Take My Breath Away” (1986)

Oh my, hit songs of the 80s. The 80s were my 40s, and a very complex time in my life — my first stint at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, my wife’s death, the shift to an Ohio State/Stanford split schedule, and more — but I seem to have been attentive to the music of the decade.

Two things: the categories of popular music, the song “Relax”.


Morning: A Long Slow Drag

October 10, 2015

Morning names have been piling up; I’ve been consumed with many things. Here’s the backlog, in order:

methylene blue, Prussian blue (early synthetic dyes, with a raft of uses)

Gluyas Williams (cartoonist)

“A Real Slow Drag” (Scott Joplin composition, from his opera Treemonisha)

The Cockettes (psychedelic theater troupe of the early 1970s)

Today I’ll talk about “A Real Slow Drag” (written in 1910).


Earworm time: Springtime for Hitler

October 3, 2015

On KFJC (Foothill College radio station) a few minutes ago, the song “Springtime for Hitler”, which never fails to crack me up, but also produces a world-class earworm for me; I’ll have it in my head for the rest oif the day.

Here, let me infect you with it: the song from the original film of Mel Brooks’s The Producers:


Another bagpiper

September 30, 2015

Commenting on Facebook about my Dudelsack posting (with its digression into Scottish bagpipe music), John Lawler reported on the “coolest opera name ever”: Schwanda der Dudelsackpfeifer (Schwanda the Bagpiper). Granting that bagpipes are a rarity in opera, this one has several operatic staples in it: folk characters, magical music, and the Devil, in particular.


Morning name: Dudelsack / doodlesack

September 29, 2015

Maybe WQXR played some bagpipe music while I was sleeping, but this was the name in my head when I woke: German Dudelsack (aka Sackpfeife) or English doodlesack, take your pick. In either case, the skirling and droning was in my head. A sample: the “Skye Boat Song” on bagpipes:

And, in case you haven’t seen a bagpiper and his instrument:


Morning Name: Ritual Fire Dance

September 28, 2015

Intense music in my head this morning. From Wikipedia:

Danza ritual del fuego (Ritual Fire Dance) is a movement of the ballet El amor brujo (The Bewitched Love), written by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla in 1915. It was made popular by the composer’s own piano arrangement. The dance has a duration of about three to four and a half minutes.

The work was influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee due to its fast, repetitive trills and ornaments. The piece was also influenced by the traditional, religious ceremony of a fire dance. This is a dance which was used to worship the fire-god, and in which people would often jump through or leap around the fire.

You can find photos of various native peoples engaged in fire dances — as on this cover of a recording:


California squirrels

September 27, 2015

In the October Funny Times, a cartoon by Cara and Andy Singer, parodying the Beach Boys song “California Girls”. I haven’t been able to find an image anywhere, so I’ll talk you through the thing.


Amber 2

September 21, 2015

Following up on my posting on succinic acid (which led to some discussion of the substance amber), two amber items: a musical interlude, and material about senses of the noun amber.


The angle of your erection

September 21, 2015

News for penises.

On AZBlogX, a piece (“Be upstanding”) on variations in penises, in curvature and especially angle of incidence. Three illustrations, all of them X-rated (so not for the kiddies or the sexually modest).

Bonus: a burlesque of the pop standard “The Object of My Affection”. Title as above.


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